WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Forty-two chefs across North Carolina are competing for the title of top chef.
Seven chefs from across the Triad took turns in the Bobby Boy Bake Shop in Winston-Salem Monday morning.
The chefs are competing in the 2021 NCRLA Chef Showdown.
Food and Travel Writer Heidi Billotto helps organize the competition every year.
“It’s a statewide competition with chefs across the state of North Carolina and they promote their restaurant, they promote what they do, and they promote North Carolina Agriculture,” Billotto said.
Winston-Salem is the third of four preliminary rounds happening across the state.
The first two rounds were in Morehead City and Charlotte.
“In this preliminary round they prepare four plates of one dish that they present to a panel of three judges,” Billotto said.
“It is them, that chef on a plate featuring North Carolina ingredients.”
Competitors are judged on presentation, taste, as well as the best use of Carolina ingredients.
David Swing with Young Cardinal Café & Co. in Winston-Salem was the first to present during the Winston-Salem preliminary round.
“It really emphasizes supporting North Carolina products,” Swing said.
“It really kind of brings chefs back together with that mentality. After the pandemic and the year, we’ve all been through, how important it is to have friendly competition and support local.”
Based on judges scores, 20 chefs from all four preliminary rounds of the competition will move to the regional level for a chance to win NCRLA Chef of the Year and NCRLA Pastry Chef of the year.
“It’s so important to highlight the work of all culinary talent that we have in this state,” Billotto said.
“From the mountains to the coast, there are so many chefs and pastry chefs. There are well established chefs, and lots of chefs just getting started that are part of this competition and it really gives them an opportunity to shine and show what they do.”
The fourth preliminary round is in Raleigh, NC June 14.
The 2021 NCRLA Chef Showdown Grand Finale will be held August 9 at Angus Barn’s Bay 7 at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC.
The public will have the opportunity to sample dishes from the top 20 chefs.
The public can also follow the preliminary and regional action and results on the NCRLA and Chef Showdown social media pages.