What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Fire in the Triangle: Joyce Farms Poulet Rouge

Posted July 17, 2013
Updated July 18, 2013

— The Fire in the Triangle finished the week with the age old question - "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

The answer seemed pretty simple: When you are eating a cronut, it really doesn't matter. (But more on the cronut later.) 

Wednesday night's battle saw The Oxford's Chris Hill take on Bia's Dan Yeager in this competition dining challenge. Chefs prepared three dishes each featuring the night's secret ingredient. 

In keeping with what seemed to be a Southern theme this week (previous ingredients this week were corn and grits and dairy),  the night's secret ingredient was Poulet Rouge Chicken from Joyce Farms based out of Winston-Salem. This particular chicken is known for having a thin skin, enhanced flavor and great meat texture. The birds are raised on small farms in the Piedmont and feed an all grain diet with no animal byproducts. 

In addition to the chicken, chefs were tasked with using the skin and farm fresh eggs.

Emcee Jimmy Crippen noted that this meal couldn't have been more fresh with the poultry farm the chickens came from about a half hour away and Carolina Brewing Company, the featured brewery this week, serving a summer ale that was bottled that day. 

Wine selections were provided by Juice Wine Purveyors out of Raleigh. The suggested selection was a Pinot Noir, which paired wonderfully with the dishes. 

The meal

Here's a rundown of each course, reviews and results. In each round and overall, diners (the Joes) and local media foodies (the Pros) grade the dish on aroma, presentation, creativity and other factors. All scores are out of a possible 30 points.fire in the triangle battle chicken

Course 1: Joyce Farms Poulet Rouge Ravioli, Chicken Consomme’, Peas, Carrots, EVOO, Lemon Essence and Poultry Cracklings (Oxford) (Score: 17.52)

"The broth was nice, but it needed more crackling," said professional judge for the evening Steven Devereaux Greene, executive chef at An in Cary.

This dish left many diners asking, "Where's the cracklings?"

Chef Hill provided the answer after the battle. It ended up in Course 5.

They couldn't figure out a way of fitting it into the first course, so they forgot about it. Unfortunately, it was still on the course description.

When Course 5 came around, Hill decided to sugar-coat the crackling and then add it to the dish. It ended up being a huge hit. 

Fire in the triangle battle chicken

Course 2: Chicken, Pea and Pancetta Risotto, Sous Vide Poached Egg Yolk (Bia) (Score: 16.69)

The egg yolks were moving around a lot on our plates, inspiring my table-mate Kitty Kinnin to take a cellphone video of the dancing yolk.

Diner Jennifer Simmons had what was quite possibly the quote of the night upon seeing the video: "That is moving like a woman on stage with tassels on," she quipped. 

Risotto is a difficult dish to prepare and diner Brad Beavers felt it and the egg were just a tad under cooked.

"I thought that the egg could have used another minute (of cooking)," he said. 

Course 3: Red Farm Chicken Breast and Heritage Farms Pork Belly, Sweet Potato Custard, Apple Match Sticks, Jalapeno Air (Oxford) (Score: 23.92)Fire in the Triangle battle chicken

This was one of those dishes that people kept talking about - even after dessert. 

"It was like Thanksgiving," local food blogger Kim Alexander (@TriLocalista) said. 

Hill said he was going for a very "eastern North Carolina feel to it." 

The sweet potato custard was able to convert even non-sweet potato fan Jennifer Johnson. She loved the flavor combination used in the dish. 

Johnson's husband, Matt, called this dish a "game-changer."

Misty Bauguess had only one complaint - her pork belly could have been just a little bit crispier. But other tables seemed to have just the right amount of crispiness. 

Course 4: Chicken Galantine, Tasso, Pomme Puree, Asparagus Tips, Roasted Chicken Jus (Bia) (Score: 21.52) Fire in the Triangle battle chicken

Another crowd favorite, this had Bauguess asking for more. She felt there wasn't enough of it to get a "feel for it." 

Many tables I visited said courses three and four were in a close race for their favorite of the night.

Of course, then dessert happened. 

Course 5: “Cronut” Tart Tatin, Strawberry Poultry Compote, Salted Caramel, Ginger Ice Cream (Oxford) (Score: 24.68)

The "Cronut" - a doughnut and croissant hybrid that is sweeping the nation right now - was probably the most buzzed about item of the night. fire in the triangle battle chicken

And it lived up to the hype! This dessert hit on all cylinders - from the salted caramel sauce to the ginger ice cream. 

"Will they bring seconds?" diner Heather Holiday said. 

The strawberry poultry compote was a great burst of flavor inside the cronut. 

A sugar-coated crackling, which didn't make it onto the first course, was a great accompaniment here. The mix of sweet and salty combined with the chicken skin had many diners rejoicing. 

"We were joking that if they don't pair chicken skin and ice cream we'd be disappointed," diner Mike Kingery said. 

Hill said the team had planned to do a cronut if they got poultry as an ingredient. They had been practicing their take on the cronut, so they were ready. 

Course 6: Farm Egg Chocolate Mousse, Cinnamon Chicken Skin Chicharones, Blueberry Caramel (Bia) (Score 15.86) Fire in the triangle battle chicken

The plating of this course left it looking very small compared to the previous course, diners at Table 2 noted. The 

Some diners complained that the dish didn't smell nearly as good as it tasted. 

While my table only smelled chocolate, they did feel like there wasn't enough it to develop a full opinion. 

For diner Clint Storey, it was all about the chicken skin which he felt "saved" the dish. 

The results

"The chefs really represented (the secret ingredient) well," Crippen said. And diners agreed.

In the end, Hill defeated Yeager to earn himself a spot in the next round, where he will face Scott James of Midtown Grille. 

It is Hill's second year competing in Fire in the Triangle. He said he felt a lot more relaxed this year, giving him a slight edge. 

On the flip side, Yeager's representation of the new Glenwood South restaurant wasn't even decided until two weeks ago. The chef stepped in after his executive chef took a job at the soon to be open Jimmy V's Osteria and Bar. 

Yeager said his first Fire in the Triangle was interesting, but he was proud of his team and the food they created.  

"What we wanted to do was to do French style food and that's what we did," he said. 

The Fire in the Triangle website has more information on how scores are calculated.

Future rounds are sold out, but check with WRAL's Out and About for recaps, exclusive content and more from each battle. We are the official bloggers this year! 

Fire in the Triangle is part of the Got to Be NC competition dining series. The winner from the Triangle will go on 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 last chef standing wins $2,000 and the coveted red chef’s jacket. The runner-up will get $500.

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