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Fire on the Rock Commences Today with Vidalia’s Samuel Ratchford v. Anthony Cerrato of Strada Italiano

by Madison V. Fisler

March 10, 2014. The flames have been stoked, the competitors are at the ready and spectators are getting excited for the opening competition in the Fire on the Rock Competition Dining Series, which begins tonight at The Lioncrest at The Biltmore in Asheville. 

Samuel Ratchford of Vidalia in Boone
Samuel Ratchford of Vidalia in Boone

Tonight, two culinary greats, Samuel Ratchford of Vidalia in Boone and Anthony Cerrato of Stata Italiano in Asheville go head to head in a battle of the flavors.

Anthony Cerrano of Strado Italiano in Asheville
Anthony Cerrano of Strada Italiano in Asheville

Both chefs will compete from 6:30-10 p.m. tonight and will serve up some delicious eats featuring North Carolina ingredients. Diners will rate each dish and determine who moves to the next round and who goes home. Each chef is required to create three courses centered around a local, North Carolina mystery ingredient, which will be judged in a “blind-diner” format, with the judges having no idea whose food they are tasting. 

The mystery ingredient is only revealed to the chefs at noon before the battle begins. The mystery ingredient must be utilized in each of the three required courses from each chef. 

The competition format is a single-elimination bracket series, and chefs may be a part of a team of three in the kitchen with one flex cook allowed per team. Guests will arrive by 6:30 p.m. and service will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Judging will be by guests who will have forms or mobile apps to fill out during service along with a panel of selected media and culinary professional judges. Series’ scores will be weighted 70 percent Diners and 30 percent Pro Guest judges.The winner of each competition will be determined at the end of the evening, and winners will advance in the bracket to the finals and compete for grand prize of $2,000. 

Each regional champion will move on to the Final Fire-Battle of Champions in November.

The competition schedule is as follows:

  • March 10: Vidalia, Boone (Samuel Ratchford) vs. Strada Italiano, Asheville (Anthony Cerrato)
  • March 11: ISIS Restaurant and Music Hall, Asheville (Mike Mahoney) vs. Season’s at Highland Lake Inn & Resort, Flat Rock (Michelle Bailey)
  • March 17: Gamekeeper Restaurant & Bar, Boone (Edwin Bloodworth) vs. Ambrozia Bar & Bistro, Asheville (Sam Etheridge)
  • March 18: King James Public House, Asheville (Steven Goff) vs. Lexington Avenue Brewery, Asheville (Michael Fisera)
  • March 24: Battle between winner of March 10 and March 11 (semifinals)
  • March 25: Battle between winner of March 17 and March 18 (semifinals)
  • March 31: Battle between winner of March 24 and March 25 (finals)

For more information about the competition or other competitions in the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, click here