by Madison V. Fisler
Jan. 14, 2014. Many High Country food lovers remember fondly the Fire on the Rock competition that took place last year at the Meadowiew Inn in Blowing Rock, where local chef Sam Ratchford of Boone local restaurant Vidalia competed against Red Stag Grille’s Adam Hayes out of Asheville for the coveted red chef jacket, and many events before that held at Crippen’s Restaurant.
Born in Blowing Rock, this year the competition will take place down the mountain.
The Fire on the Rock competition is set to take place at the Lioncrest at Biltmore in Asheville. The first battle will begin on March 10 and will be a consolidated competition for all of the selected chefs from Western North Carolina.
“The applications will be evaluated and the competing chefs will be ranked out of five on things like reviews on Yelp! and Urban Spoon, their social media presence and many other criteria. Then we will reach out to the chefs that are chosen to compete.”
“Fire on the Rock” first began in Blowing Rock when Jimmy Crippen hosted the competition in his restaurant, Crippen’s. The competition has become so large now that a new, larger venue was required to keep up.
“We wanted a more central location for the mountain region since we are increasing our scope and inviting chefs not only from the High Country but all over western North Carolina,” Crippen said.
“The Biltmore provides a dream kitchen, where the chefs can do what they need to and do it well. They also have ample dining space and are service oriented to take care of their customers. We are anticipating a very high-quality bracket this year including many great chefs from the mountain region.”
The structure for the competition will be different this year, as Fire on the Rock is slated to become the premier battle for Western North Carolina bragging rights for chef talent. There will be a total of 8 chefs selected and a total of 7 official competitions beginning on March 10, Baughman said.
Fire on the Rock is one of many competitions across the state in the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, which showcases talent from all over the regions of North Carolina. The other affiliated events: Fire on the Dock in Wilmington, Fire in the Triad in Greensboro, Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh, Fire in the City in Charlotte and Final Fire in Raleigh strive to highlight local North Carolina chefs. The goal of the competition is to promote local North Carolina ingredients and talented chefs from across the state.
Each evening, two restaurants battle it out side by side in a single elimination, blind dinner competition. Diners will rate each dish and determine who moves to the next round and who goes home. At stake in each series is a grand prize of $2,000 and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket.”
Each regional champion will move on to the Final Fire-Battle of Champions in November.
Applications for the competition are available here. Applications must be received no later than Jan. 24. Participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than Jan. 31.
For more information, or to purchase tickets to any of the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series events, click here.