Competition Dining Cook-off Week 1 Roundup

See which Charlotte chefs advanced in the first three contests

The first week of the Got to be NC Competition Dining Series wrapped up last night. So far, the chefs have brought lots of creativity to their dishes, and appear pretty exhausted by the competition’s end. A six-course menu cooked by chefs fighting for the title of best in Charlotte? You know you’ll eat well.

The service is steady despite the rapid pace of the evening, and it’s fun to learn more about the chefs and hear which songs they pick as an entrance song. The teams linger after the competition, so you can give them your congratulations and praise in person. From these seats, Charlotte’s food future is looking pretty bright. Buy tickets and see the entire competition schedule here.

If you didn’t have any friends at the dinners, you probably missed the food photos blowing up your Twitter feed, so here’s how the first few nights of competition turned out.


Chefs: Miles Payne of littleSpoon vs. Ryan Forte of Southminster Retirement Community
Surprise ingredient: Goodnight Brothers Country Ham
Audience pick: Forte (31.091) over Payne (29.156)
Pro pick: Forte (28.889) over Payne (25.889)
Advancing: Forte, with a score of 30.43030303 to Payne’s 28.17575758
Forte’s highest-scoring dish of the night (pictured at right): Pan-Seared Little River Lump Crab Cake, Warm Goodnight Brothers Blue Ridge Country Ham-Brussels Sprouts Salad, Country Ham Broth, Crispy Country Ham (weighted score: 33.864)


Chefs: Paul Verica of Heritage Food & Drink vs. Vincent Giancarlo of Cantina 1511
Surprise ingredient: Bosky Acres Goat Cheese
Audience pick: Verica (26.872) over Giancarlo (26.183)
Pro pick: Verica (24.556) over Giancarlo (22.889)
Advancing: Verica, with a score of 26.17722222 to Giancarlo’s 25.195
Verica’s highest-scoring dish of the night (pictured at right): Vanilla-Lavender-Bosky Acres Goat Cheese Panna Cotta, Pecan Financier, Crispy Strawberries, Blackberry Purée (weighted score: 29.985)


Chefs: Thomas Marlow of Mimosa Grill vs. Ben Miles of BLT Steak
Surprise ingredients: New Town Farms Turnips and Harrell Hill Farms Sorghum Syrup Molasses
Audience pick: Marlow (27.129) over Miles (27.080)
Pro pick: Miles (36.333) over Marlow (28.333)
Advancing: Miles, with a score of 29.85579710 to Marlow’s 27.49040590.
Miles’ highest-scoring dish of the night (pictured at right): Flourless Chocolate Cake, Harrell Hill Farms Sorghum Syrup Molasses Toffee, Chocolate Crumble, Mascerated Berries (weighted score: 30.509)

That means Forte will take on Tom Dyrness of Mama Ricotta’s on Sunday, April 12; Paul Verica will battle Steven Goff of King James Public House on Monday, April 13; and Ben Miles will cook against David Moore of Gallery Restaurant on Tuesday, April 14. 

The last first-round contest in bracket one will take place on Sunday, with Joseph Cornett of The Flipside Café in the kitchen against Jon Ernst of Café Monte. The second bracket showdown will begin on Monday, March 30, with Mike Suppa of Vivace and Melissa Joy Claude of Joy Bistro, and continue through April 7.