Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series (the Fire in the Triangle) is a wonderful way to sample great cuisine from North Carolina while at the same time feeling like you’re on a live TV show, a la Iron Chef. From the moment you arrive, you’re greeted and escorted to your seat. We made ourselves comfortable in the cozy dining room at 1705 Prime and decided to order a glass of wine before the festivities got started. I ordered a glass of Jones vonDrehle Rosa Dia rose wine from the selections of NC wine, which I really enjoyed. I had never had a rose before, but to me it was the perfect balance of dry and only lightly sweet. It also seemed natural to take advantage of the special wine pairing, a glass paired with each course (6 of them) for only $20.
After trying some of my wine and following instructions to activate my voting status on the interesting Fire in the Triangle iphone app, My friend K and I were ready to mingle! Luckily we were seated with a bunch of friendly table-mates, including the NC Beer guys! Jodi Leece Glusco from WRAL Out and About was also at our table and has a nice write-up of the event here.
Today’s chefs competing in this first round were Chef John Childers of Herons at The Umstead and Chef Scott Jancovictz of The Station. I hadn’t been to either restaurant so I really didn’t know what to expect. We managed to avoid eating from the breadbasket and waited through the intro videos and sponsor messages to get to the much-anticipated ingredient unveiling. Today’s ingredients were Carolina Bison Brisket and Lewis Farms Blueberries. The dishes started coming out quickly, and then the biggest challenge, aside from judging, was to save room for the courses that were yet to come. Below are images of each course.
The voting process for each dish was really unique. I was lucky to be a media judge for the event so my votes were weighted higher than the guests, but everyone was able to vote for each dish on about 6 different factors, a scale of 1 to 5. The app from HITStech calculated everything for us so that we could do the dramatic presentation of each dish’s score and then the final tally. We had good discussion at our table, weighing the dishes against each other, but when it came down to it, Chef John Childers of Herons and his team won this round and will be progressing to round two on July 14th. Sorry, that date, where they battle the Flights team, is already sold out!
I’ve recommend this event with one caveat: try to eat light earlier in the day, and save room for all the dishes! If you’d like to get tickets to one of the rounds of Fire in the Triangle, you should act fast. Half the events are sold out. They are priced $59 plus tax and service fee for the preliminary rounds and $69 plus tax and service fee for the final rounds. It’s an amazing opportunity to enjoy fresh NC farmed products and be pampered with truly original dishes. Some of the accompanying ingredients were our favorites, like the Old Mill of Guilford Grits. You should check out all the NC products (especially since July is NC Agriculture Month!) by going to the NC Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.
I wanted to thank the sponsors of this cool event, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, the NC Wine & Grape Council, Certified Angus Beef® and Pepsi Bottling Ventures.