April 10, 2013. When Fire on the Rock founder Jimmy Crippen first came to Blowing Rock Fire Chief Kent Graham with the idea of hosting the inaugural Fire on the Rock at the Green Park Inn eight years ago, Graham said, “Nope. You can’t do that.”
It wasn’t because Graham, who has a culinary background, was against the idea of the competitive dining series. He thought it was a great idea, but he said he was against the open-flame cooking event happening at the historic Green Park Inn, which is well over 100 years old.
So Graham tried to discourage Crippen, who then called Graham back and asked, “What would it take?”
Graham gave a list of safety precautions that included the fire department present; fire extinguishers placed by each stove, fans to pull heat and smoke out of the rooms; and the execution of evacuation and crowd control plans.
After all of that, Crippen said, “OK.”
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie