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Fire on the Rock Blowing Rock Chefs to be Announced March 13; Winner to Take On Asheville Champ

image003March 7, 2013. The High Country’s top culinary talent has been selected and the battle brackets will be announced March 13 at 4 p.m. at Meadowbrook Inn & Suites as the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series Fire on the Rock heads home to Blowing Rock for the eighth year in a row, this time with new features to up the ante. 

For the first time in Fire on the Rock history, the competition is divided into two regional rounds— one eight-chef round in Asheville, which concluded Jan. 30, and one eight-chef round that will kick off at the Meadowbrook Inn & Suites in Blowing Rock on April 8. Eight Blowing Rock chefs will battle during preliminary rounds April 8-11, followed by the semi-finals April 16-17. 

The Blowing Rock champion will be crowned on April 24, and will go on to battle Asheville champ Adam Hayes of the Red Stag Grill on April 30 to determine the overall Fire on the Rock winner. The winner will receive the coveted “Red Chef Jacket,” a $2,000 cash prize, and advances to the Final Fire series in November 2013 to vie for the 2013 championship title. 

“Competition Dining was born in the mountains, so we felt that we should include all the amazing culinary talent that resides in Western N.C. into the original Fire on the Rock series,” said Fire on the Rock founder Jimmy Crippen. “Those Asheville chefs certainly threw down the gauntlet in January; now it’s time for the High Country chefs to bring the fire.” 

The High Country’s eight selected chefs include previous Fire winners, a James Beard featured chef, as well as one chef who has reveled in his own 15-minutes of culinary fame as a contestant on “Chopped” on the Food Network.

Sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, Southern Foods-Pate Dawson, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Swisher Hygiene and Certified Angus Beef, the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series pits North Carolina’s top chefs in five regional Iron Chef-style competitions that culminate with the battle of the regional champions at the Final Fire event in November. In this unique experience, diners sample six gourmet dishes prepared by two competing chefs and vote after savoring each dish.

Throughout the 2013 season, an estimated 10,000 guests will be served gourmet meals prepared by 80 chefs at 79 different battles. Interested in attending? Consider buying tickets early—only available online at http://www.CompetitionDining.com—as nearly every battle in the 2012 season sold out.

For more information, visit the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series Facebook page, YouTube channel or Twitter feed


The mission of the yearlong, statewide competition is to engage the farmer, the chef and the diner in an exciting evening of food and entertainment with the goal of promoting North Carolina chef talent and the use of local ingredients. Each of the five regional competitions feature 16 chefs and 15 single-elimination dinner battles judged by the public. This is the second year the concept has been executed statewide. It was started eight years ago by event host and founder Jimmy Crippen in Blowing Rock, N.C. at Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant as Fire on the Rock.

Statewide sponsors include The North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA), Southern Foods-Pate Dawson, OUR STATE Magazine, Pepsi Bottling Ventures and Certified Angus Beef. The Office of the State Fire Marshal in North Carolina provides information at each dinner as cooking is the number one cause of home fires and burn injuries.

How it works: Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side-by-side in a single elimination, “Iron Chef”-style format. Guests savor a six-course menu (three dishes from each chef without knowing whose food they’re tasting) created around a featured ingredient. For all fifteen dinners, the ingredient will come from a North Carolina source. The featured ingredient is revealed to the chefs on the day of the event, and it must be used in each of their three courses.

Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, rate each dish and determine who moves on to the next round and who goes home.