Raleigh, N.C. — The Competition Dining Series Battle of Champions kicks off this week. Five teams will be competing for the title of best chefs in the state.
Battles run Friday through Sunday and continue Nov. 18 and 20 at N.C. State's Dorothy and Ray Park Alumni Center.
To help get to know the teams, we posed five questions to each team captain.
What sets your team apart from the others competing in the Competition Dining series championship?
Adam Reed, Team Radical Range Riders from Charlotte: The Radical Range Riders are made up of a group of culinary instructors who have or still do work in the field. We've all worked for great chefs and great restaurants around the country, and we have pooled our talent to form a formidable team for the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series.
Franz Propst, Team Mirepoix from Raleigh: Besides being great friends and colleagues, I believe our Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series team has a good balance of technical skill, creativity, a commitment to quality, an open-mindedness of each other’s strengths and a mutual respect of our competition. We work well together and everyone knows their role.
James Patterson, Team Sedgefield Culinary Crushers from Greensboro: When Isaac, Tim and I are in a room together, everyone will have a good time! Our personalities are all so different, but what unites us is our passion for food. We tell jokes, pick on each other and laugh and in the end, we always create some pretty impressive dishes. The Competition Dining Series provides the perfect opportunity for us to do just that.
Sam Cahoon, Team Ceviche’s from Wilmington: I think what sets us apart the most from the other teams is our overall cooking style. We are a very unique team and the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series has been a way for us to enjoy doing things in the kitchen that haven't been done before.
Sam Ratchford, Team Vidalia Boom from Winston-Salem: Everyone on our Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series team has varied backgrounds and we all work together on a daily basis, so it’s easy for us to understand each other.
Scott Schabot, Team Egg Heads from Durham: Our Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series team has known one another a long time. I have known Keith since fifth grade and Tad for about seven years. We have all worked hand in hand with one another and are good friends outside of the kitchen as well. Competing in this tournament has been a great way for us to push each other to be better.
Best meal you’ve ever eaten and why?
Adam Reed: Quality and experience would have to be dinner at The Inn at Little Washington. Amazing food, service and atmosphere. Best memory would be Thanksgiving dinner with my wife and friends at The Russian Tea Room in NYC where I worked and volunteered to work on Thanksgiving (my day off) to make up for taking the previous day off for my grandmother’s funeral, who inspired me to be a chef. The executive sous chef had been upset with me taking the day off, so I went in on Thanksgiving. When the chef found out what had happened he told me to have my wife bring a suit down to the restaurant and have dinner on them. We were treated like rock stars for the night after I prepped all day.
Franz Propst: Magnolia Grill in Charleston, S.C., April 10, 1998. I enjoy low country/upscale southern cuisine and atmosphere, but was the dinner that I asked my wife to marry me. That made it the best meal for me.
James Patterson: As I was leaving Charleston, S.C., back in 2003, Craig Deihl took me out to McCrady’s for a farewell dinner where Executive Chef Michael Kramer prepared a 12-course tasting menu hand written on a scroll with wines paired for our table. Let me tell you, it was unbelievable! Sitting and enjoying a meal such as this with my chef – words cannot describe that night.
Sam Cahoon: The best meal I've ever had would have probably been on a trip I took to Europe. My brother, Christian, was studying in England at the time, and we got to travel to London, Scotland (where the Cahoon family is from) and finally Amsterdam. Our last night in Amsterdam, we went all out at this place called MoMo, and it was an incredible experience, from the food to the drinks to the atmosphere, and the most importantly, I got to experience it with my little brother!
Sam Ratchford: Grilled dry-aged ribeye, simply because it’s an expensive delicacy and I very rarely get the opportunity to enjoy one.
Scott Schabot: Scrambled eggs my daughter Zoey made me when she was 3! She was so proud of herself that she whisked the eggs and did it all by herself. Seasoned perfectly, also!
Food you don’t like no matter how many times you’ve tried?
Adam Reed: I pretty much like everything and nothing really comes to mind.
Franz Propst: Truffles
James Patterson: I’ve always told people that I am allergic to bananas, but the truth is I just don’t like them. I never have and I never will, the smell alone is enough to turn my stomach. I want to learn to like them but I can’t!
Sam Cahoon: In all honesty there's isn't a whole lot of food I don't like, and usually if I don't like something, it just means I haven't had it served correctly. The really stinky blue cheeses and pickled pig feet throw me off a little bit, but I’ve always been a fan of the weird stuff!
Sam Ratchford: I have never like most shellfish, bivalvia in particular.
Scott Schabot: Broccoli! Cover it in whatever you want, it doesn’t matter – I have tried it every possible way and I just can’t do it.
What are five foods you always have in your refrigerator/pantry?
Adam Reed: If you mean at home: OJ, milk, peanut butter, jam, butter and oatmeal – I'm rarely home to cook!
Franz Propst: An assortment of fine cheese, stone ground grits, apples, sambal, and an assortment of vinegar.
James Patterson: Thick Sliced Bacon or Country Style Sausage (Neese’s makes these both), real butter, stone ground grits, white lily flour (for baking biscuits with my daughter) and ice cream.
Sam Cahoon: Bananas, cereal, eggs, some kind of greens (spinach, kale or arugula) and Texas Pete!
Sam Ratchford: Watauga country ham, good cheddar, eggs, salami or capicola, and apples.
Scott Schabot: Meat, cheese, Irish butter, garlic and white wine.
You are starving, what is your go-to food/dish?
Adam Reed: Anything easy! Trail mix, Cliff Bars, bread, peanut butter and jelly or Wheat Thins.
Franz Propst: Cereal – it’s easy and quick, and I cook for a living.
James Patterson: If I have time, I want a thick cut ribeye steak cooked over charcoal, served with baked potato, butter poached vidalia onions, steamed broccoli with cheese sauce, warm yeast roll and some sweet tea,
Sam Cahoon: If I'm at home and starving, I'm probably going to grab a bowl of cereal and milk or make a sandwich. Nothing complicated, just quick and easy.
Sam Ratchford: Captain Crunch or Pizza.
Scott Schabot: Bologna and cheese with mayonnaise and tomato.
Tickets are still available for the Competition Dining Battle of the Champions dinners.