Raleigh, N.C. — The Fire in the Triangle finale is Monday night, so we wanted to take one last opportunity to get to know the members of each team.
Here's what Thompson had to say:
Executive Sous Chef, Anthony Zinani
He’s a wonderful, loyal teammate who is a family man and an excellent chef. He has two beautiful daughters and is kept in check by his lovely wife, MacKenzie. He’s originally from New England and is a fanatic for Boston sports teams, to the point where it blinds his judgment. He probably has the widest variety of cooking experience of anyone I’ve worked with, and can pretty much cook any cuisine. He has been on every coast and in between to gain a wide range of culinary versatility. I first met Anthony at Johnson and Wales, Providence RI, in 2002. We often socialized in the same circle. In 2010, my daughter was born, and at her first check up I bumped into him and his family in the waiting room in a Raleigh pediatrician's office. I didn’t recognize him immediately but we caught up on the spot, and I put him into contact with my brother Matt Thompson who was in need of a chef. After fulfilling his duties with my brother for a year, he eventually worked his way over to Renaissance Raleigh at North Hills, when we were in need of an exceptionally talented chef.
Executive Chef, Matt Thompson
Matt has been with me for 31 years. He has several different talents: basketball, golf, cheffin’, wiffle ball (pitcher), fantasy football, he's good at everything probably, even poetry. Most of all, he’s my best friend and brother. He has a awesome family of two boys and an even more talented and beautiful wife, Kelli. He has been at the State Club for five years and before that was at Brier Creek Country Club for several years. We attended Johnson and Wales together in 2000. He is four years older but we pretty much have always been tight. It's pretty obvious why I wanted to work with him, and I wouldn’t want to go through this with anybody else. We make a great team!!
On his competitor, Midtown Grille's Scott James
He is a very talented chef with a outstanding reputation. I’d be lying if I told you that I knew him personally, but I’ve had several conversations and I’ve reached out to him in several situations of need and, of course, eaten in his restaurant on a few occasions. We grew up in the same town, and know a lot of the same folks from the area, especially the ones in the business. His reputation is that he’s a driven individual who has made his mark on the industry by consistently striving for perfection. I’ve never heard anything negative about him as a person or chef. He’s a good guy, and if I need a favor, I know that he will be responsive and helpful. There is no rivalry YET! However, I think we might be starting something! In all seriousness, I want to win this event so bad I can almost smell it, but I can’t think of anyone who I’d rather lose to! If that means anything.
Flights will face off against Midtown Grille in the Fire in the Triangle final Monday night. Out and About will have complete coverage of the winner on Tuesday morning.