Raleigh, N.C. — The sun is setting. It is time to light the fire!
Those words are forever burned into my brain. And that is a good thing! WRAL's Out and About served as the official bloggers for last year's Fire in the Triangle event and we are happy to announce that we are doing it again this year.
The chefs for the third Fire in the Triangle were announced Thursday during a media event at Zinda.
The bracket pits 16 local chefs against one another in "Iron Chef-style" battles with a twist – the audience/diners get to eat and vote! And their votes make up 70 percent of the total score, with the judges' panel only counting for 30 percent.
Voting takes place on your smartphone through the Competition Dining app, available for iPhone and Android. And if you don't have a smartphone, they offer pen and paper voting. New to this year's voting is the addition of more voting categories. Diners will be able to vote on the flavor of the entire dish and separately on the flavor of the secret ingredient.
The format for the competition is simple: Chefs arrive to 1705 Prime, 1705 E. Millbrook Road in Raleigh, the site for all battles, around noon on competition day. They find out the secret ingredient and must get to work with their two assistants to create three courses featuring that ingredient. They all have access to the same pantry and the same ingredients. They are also prohibited from making anything from their restaurants.
Their menus are due by 3:30 p.m. and diners start arriving at 6:30 p.m. Dinner is served at 7 p.m.
Secret ingredients in the past have included Cheerwine, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and caviar.
Tickets for all first round battles are $59 per person (excluding beverage, tax and tip) and can be reserved online.
It a single-elimination contest with the winner being crowned on Aug. 4.
Everything kicks off June 23 with Fire in the Triangle 2013 champion Dean Thompson taking on Cantina 18's Joseph Yarnell, who is new to this year's competition.
Here are the first round match-ups:
July 2: Peter Spear (Pup's Steakhouse) vs. Adam Jones (Dean's Seafood)
Some chefs competed last year – Oxford, Herons, Little Hen and Mandolin – while others are new to the competition.
The Station's Scott Jankovictz competed previous years with the Market team, but will be leading a team for the first time this year. He has competed against his first round opponent John Childers of Herons before.
Coquette's Beth LittleJohn is competing for the first time this year and is the only female chef. LittleJohn had applied last year but was not selected to compete. She will be taking on Little Hen's Regan Stachler, who admits to being a fan of LittleJohn's cooking.
Stachler said he is just hoping for easier secret ingredients than last year where he had to tackle Krispy Kreme Dougnuts and Joe Van Gogh coffee. He lost that battle to the team from 518 West.
As the official bloggers, WRAL's Out and About will be bringing you interviews, recipes and other exclusive content!
Fire in the Triangle is part of the Got to Be NC competition dining series. The winner from the Triangle will go on to the finals to compete against the winners of the Fire on the Rock, Fire on the Dock, Fire in the Triad and Fire in the City competitions.
The Final Fire is held in Raleigh in November. The last chef standing wins $4,000, a trip to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, Calif. and the coveted red chef’s jacket.