NC Competition

2016 NC Competition Dining Series

We are proud to announce that our very own
Chef Ryan Summers was a State Champion in the
GotToBeNC Competition Dining Series last year!

Pictured here, from left to right:
Chef Franz Propst of Peak City Grill & Bar in Apex.
Chef Ryan Summers of Chef's Palette Restaurant & Bar in Cary, and Chef Tom Halik of Main Street Grille, Cafe & Bakery in Wake Forest.

The three talented men above formed the "Mirepoix" dream team and took the entire competition by storm, winning every single event from start to finish!
Chef Ryan and his team won five culinary events and ultimately earned the title of State Champions during The Grand Finale on Sunday, November 20th, 2016.
Each of the five battles consisted of a contest between two teams of North Carolina chefs. Each team was required to create 3 dishes using the featured ingredients of the night, which were revealed at noon on the day of the competition. The chefs were allowed to use only the ingredients on the premesis, and no recipes were permitted.
In the photo to the left, Tom, Franz and Ryan find out the secret ingredients, along with their competitors.
The dishes were served in courses, and the voting was done digitally by the guests, along with a panel of professional culinary judges.
Judging criteria was based on presentation, aroma, flavor, and many other factors. The winners of the competitions were determined at the end of each evening.
During dinner, neither the guests nor the judges knew which team made which course. Anonymity ensured that each dish was judged fairly.
The guests had an opportunity to enjoy some incredible food made by some of the best chefs in the area, and decide which team should ascend to the next level in the competition.
All of the events were sold out!
The first battle was:
Team Mirepoix vs. Team Brinehaus on Tuesday, July 19th, 2016.

The secret ingredients of the night were:
Poulet Rouge Chicken from Joyce Farms and Kerala Curry Spices.
Ryan, Franz and Tom were declared the winners at the end of the evening!

Pictured below are the three winning dishes from the July 19th battle.
The second battle was:
Team Mirepoix vs. Team Scratch Mavericks on Thursday, July 21st, 2016.

The secret ingredients of the night were:
Heirloom tomatoes and basil from Moore's Produce.

Again, Franz, Ryan and Tom were declared the champions of this semi-final round!

The winning dishes from the July 21st battle are pictured below.
The third battle was:
Team Mirepoix vs. Team "Will Work For Food" on Sunday, July 24th, 2016.

The secret ingredients of the night were:
Certified Angus Brand beef and blackberries from Whitfield Farms.
At the end of the Finals round, Chef Franz, Chef Tom, and Chef Ryan were given the title of Raleigh Champions and took home $2,000 in cash and prizes!

Pictured below are Team Mirepoix's creations during the July 24th battle.
The fourth battle was:
Team Mirepoix vs. Team "Radical Range Riders"
on Sunday, November 13th, 2017.

The secret ingredients of the night were:
Yogurt from Carolina Farmhouse Dairy
White sweet potatoes from Scott Farms and
Sorghum syrup molasses from Harrell Hill Farms

The scores were very close this time, but once again, Team Mirepoix brought home the gold!
These boys are in it to win it!

The three outstanding Mirepoix dishes are pictured below.

Finally, the Grand Finale was held at
The Dorothy and Ray Park Alumni Center on the NC State Campus
on Sunday, November 20th, 2016.

This beautiful venue featured Italian marble flooring, double curving staircases and a grand reception room with 28-foot ceilings, crystal chandelier lighting, mahogany-trimmed fireplaces, and a full wall of windows with picturesque views of the lake.
During the fifth battle, which was the Grand Finale, Team Mirepoix competed against Team "Sedgefield Culinary Crushers" from Greensboro.

In the photo to the left, both teams picked up some fresh produce at The NC State Farmer's Market on the morning of the competition.
The secret ingredients of the night were:
Joyce Farms Heritage Black Turkey
High Rock Farm Chestnuts and Chestnut Flour
Cloister Honey from Charlotte

In the photo to the right, both teams pose with Marketing Manager Heidi Billotto and Chef Chad Blackwelder.
In a clean sweep, Franz, Ryan and Tom won this final event and earned the title of State Champions of NC Competition Dining for 2016! These three very creative and skilled chefs were awarded $4,000 in cash and prizes!

We could not be more proud of Team Mirepoix and we can't wait for next year! We want "MORE POIX!"

Pictured below are the three imaginative and scrumptious dishes that brought the house down!
We caught up with Ryan after all the excitement and asked him to share his thoughts with us.

CP: For you, what was the best part of being involved in Competition Dining?
Ryan: For me, the entire experience was great. Observing the many different techniques and tricks each chef used was a learning experience. The whole event was about making great food, and creating camaraderie in the kitchen. I feel I have come out a better chef.
CP: Do you feel like you got better at competing and understanding what was necessary to win with each successive battle?
Ryan: I believe so. During the first round, we were a little disoriented because we had to figure out where all the products were. Working in a new kitchen can be a challenge, but after we got settled, we worked so well together as a team, not only in planning and prepping, but in the execution. I think that's what gave us a leg up in the competition. We stayed organized and communicated with each other which helped get everything done effectively.
CP: At what point did you think it might be possible for Team Mirepoix to win the whole event?
Ryan: After we we won the Raleigh Finals, we realized we were only two wins away from being crowned State Champs. We knew if we just stuck to our style of food and paid attention to what we were doing, we had a shot at it!
CP: Would you do it again next year?
Ryan: We'll have to see! It's a pretty intense experience, very draining, and hard for a chef that has only a small staff to cover for him during all these competitions! But maybe down the road I would do it again.
CP: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Ryan: I would like to give a shout out to all the staff I encountered throughout the whole competition. From the chefs in the kitchen to the waitstaff that helped serve our diners, everyone was very professional and polite and you could tell they loved and cared about the food we were serving. All in all, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I will forever remember Team Mirepoix!
Pictured from left to right:
Chef Ryan Summers and Chef Franz Propst
Ryan started working for Franz in 2009 when he joined the team at Peak City Grill. Ryan considers Franz to be one of his greatest mentors. These two love working together and have been
friends for the last 7 years.
They, along with Chef Tom Halik, made an unstoppable team for last year's NC Competition Dining Series!
Special thanks to Jimmy Crippen, Event Host, and to Heidi Billotto, Event Photographer and Marketing Manager for The GotToBeNC Competition Dining Series!
Click here to read the article posted in Carolina Business Connection
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