The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series heats up for final battle

photo courtest of The Competition Dining Series—photo courtest of The Competition Dining Series
James “JP” Patterson leads his team during plate preparation. Patterson is the captain of the Sedge eld Culinary Crushers — they emerged as Champions out of the Greensboro bracket in 2016.

With creative flair, the perfect recipe, farm fresh ingredients and the skill to duel in the kitchen, the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is heating up this weekend for its final battle.The Competition Series pits the top chefs from around North Carolina against one another in a series of food battles until a champion is crowned with diners placing the votes and determining the winners.”This mission is to create an emotionally inspired diner experience that creatively brings together the chef, the farmer, and the diner,” said founder Jimmy Crippen.The series is deigned to celebrate local North Carolina produce and agriculture; to showcase culinary ingenuity; and to highlight the talent of chefs from around the state.”We’re turning chefs into local celebrities and increasing business to their restaurants. We’re placing the farmer’s products in front of chefs. We’re giving diners a unique dinner that is here and gone,” he added.The idea for the Competition Dining Series was created in 2005 in Blowing Rock while Crippen was overseeing his own restaurant, Crippen’s, one of High County’s first fine dining establishments. A partnership with the N.C. Department of Agriculture expanded the dining series across the state in 2012. This year, the Competition Dining Series began in April and traveled through the cities of Durham, Winston Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte and Wilmington.From a pile of applications from talented chefs across the state, the top chefs were selected to compete. Guests are treated to a six-course blind dinner in which the visitors taste three dishes from each team without knowing what team prepared which dish. Guests then cast votes for presentation, aroma, flavor and creativity. The winning team moves on to the next round until there is only one team left standing and crowned the winner.The 2016 Battle of Champions, the final dinner event being held in Raleigh today, will mark the official end of the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series. After five years of celebrating North Carolina’s agriculture and culinary talent through more than 300 interactive dinner events, 1,830 locally sourced dishes and more than 30,000 fed people across the state, Crippen is retiring the competition in order to pursue other ventures.”It has always been my underlining goal for North Carolina to be one of the great foodie states in the country,” said Crippen. “We have great restaurants and great chefs throughout the state. People talk about California, Florida, New York and Illinois as food states, but North Carolina has become one of those.””Through working with Got to Be NC, we are highlighting the awareness of products grown, made, caught and raised in North Carolina,” said Crippen. “It’s only natural to cook it up.”