Two of the top chefs in the state went head to head last night in the first semifinal round of the Final Fire competition.
1618 chef George Neal took on Michael Foreman of Bistro Roca in the "Iron Chef"-style event.
The night's secret ingredient was pumpkin!
Guests were treated to a six-course meal – three dishes from each chef. Diners and judges were not told which chef made which dish. Voting was done on a dish-by-dish basis via smartphone.
Here's a rundown of the courses:
First course: Pan-Seared Sea Scallop over Bistro Filet with Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie, Roasted Pumpkin-Onion Cream Sauce, Red-Wine Reduction and Pumpkin Confit (1618)
Second course: Pomegranate and Pumpkin-Glazed Pulled Pork with Stout Beer and Pumpkin BBQ Sauce, Raw Pumpkin and Winter-Root Vegetable Slaw (Bistro Roca)
Third course: Blackened Beef Chuck over Sweet Potato-Pumpkin-Bacon Cake with Bourdelaise, Spicy Pumpkin and Lump Crab Mousse and Pumpkin Oil (1618)
Fourth course: Coffee-Braised Veal and Seared Duck Duo with Pumpkin Mascarpone Grits, Hubbard Pickles, Crispy Collards, Stackhouse Triple Cream Bleu Vein, Root Vegetable Chips (Bistro Roca)
Fifth course: Pumpkin Crème Brulee with a Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle, Orange Zest-Beet Ice Cream, Pumpkin Dip and Black Berry Coulis (1618) – Highest scoring dish of the night by 0.07%
Sixth course: Spiced Pumpkin Cake Layered with Praline Pastry Crème, Orange-Almond Tuile, Cream-Cheese Ice Cream, Cheerwine and Tart Cherry Coulis (Bistro Roca)
In the end, Foreman defeated Neal by half a percentage point and will move on to the final round. The Fire in the Triangle website has more on how scores are tabulated.
Foreman and his team from Bistro Roca will face the winner from tonight's match-up on Saturday night in Battle East vs. West.
Final Fire is part of the Got to Be NC competition dining series. The winners of Fire on the Rock, Fire on the Dock, Fire in the Triangle and Fire in the Triad are participating in this culinary showdown.
The winner of Final Fire will receive $4,000 and a customized handmade box set of knives by Ironmade Forge in Charlotte. The runner-up wins $1,000.