By Jesse Wood
April 19, 2013. John Dean of Twigs in Blowing Rock will meet Sam Ratchford of Vidalia in Boone to see who moves on to the finale of Fire on the Rock to face Adam Hayes of Red Stag Grill in Asheville.
On Wednesday night, Dean just barely edged passed Julius Kalman of Canyons. The secret ingredient was rabbit from Ashley Farms out of Winston-Salem. While rabbit was put into a wonton and was pulled, braised and seared, Dean prepared the highest-scoring dish with dessert: a chocolate cake and rabbit and Bing cherry ice cream with pecan pralines and candied rabbit bacon
“It’s awesome. I’m pretty excited. I’ve had a really good time. I’ve got to meet a lot of cooks and people, and I’ve enjoyed being in the competition,” Dean said.
As for the secret ingredients, Dean said he was happy to have rabbit selected because he was hoping for a protein.
“It’s not everyday you get to put rabbit into three dishes,” Dean said. “Putting it into desserts and cooking it so many ways – braising, simmering and roasting – was a lot of fun.”
As for the Blowing Rock finale with Ratchford, Dean knows he will face some tough competition.
Dean said that he’s gotten this far on two dishes that scored really well and one course that didn’t score as well. That won’t work, he added, against Ratchford.
“I’ve got to put out three really good courses,” Dean said. “I am looking forward to getting in their with Sam and working together with a great chef, meet the cooks and have a good time in the kitchen with people and hopefully advance to another round.”
Ratchford was busy in the kitchen and wasn’t available for comment for the time being. High Country Press will check in with him later.
The competition between Dean and Ratchford takes place at the Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock on Wednesday, April 24. Dinners start at 6:30 p.m. For reservations, click here.
For past stories on this year’s Fire on the Rock in Blowing Rock, click here.