What's on Tap

What's on Tap

NC Chef's Academy students' creations to be served at Firewurst

Posted November 11, 2013

The mac and cheese, chili dog topped with bacon helped earn this team a third place finish at the Firewurst challenge at the NC Chef's Academy.

— Hot dog toppings are as personal as an individual’s wardrobe. Constructing a dog is a creative process, choosing flavors and textures that work together in harmony when combined with the perfect link of ground meat.

Last Friday, students at The Chef’s Academy in Morrisville teamed up to create their own idea of a perfect dog. Teams competed for a chance to see their submission on the local chain's menu.

Firewurst Flame Grilled Sausage & Dogs, owned by father and son team Bill and Chas Morgenstern, hosted the event and brought along a selection of their premium dogs, sausages and wursts. 

The competition began a week earlier when student teams were given either a hot dog or one of the selected Firewurst sausages and asked to create a gourmet sandwich. A curveball was thrown when a secret ingredient was tossed into the mix, Yuengling beer.chef's academy

The top eight teams from that competition moved ahead to compete in Friday's final round, where the teams of two were asked to create two gourmet combinations - one hot dog and one sausage. 

Competitors raced against the clock as they grilled, braised, baked and sautéed. Their arsenal of ingredients was nearly endless, allowing them to craft interesting flavor profiles and not-so-common combinations. Innovative techniques were used such as deep-frying the link, inserting jalapeno coins into the dog, wrapping the link in bacon, and even injecting beer into the center of the sausage.

Judges struggled during deliberation as each submission contributed it’s own uniqueness and flare. Every plate offered something new and different, making comparison a challenge. Some contestants stuck with traditional toppings such as chili, slaw, onions and sauerkraut while others ventured into new topping territory with mac and cheese, marinara and sweet red onion jam.chefs academy

WRAL Out and About Editor Kathy Hanrahan, Weathervane's Ryan Payne and Firewurst's Chas Morgenstern were judges for the day. They judged dishes on presentation, taste, uniqueness and the ability to recreate it at the restaurant.

First place winners, Chris Daniels and Rance Slabaugh, were awarded $350 each, embroidered chef’s jackets and high quality knife kits, all provided by Firewurst. Their winning sausage was a Yuengling infused bratwurst and pickled coleslaw with a cheddar mustard sauce, a very flavorful combination with a wonderful crunch. Their gourmet hot dog was a red onion jam stuffed dog wrapped in bacon with a mustard cheese sauce, another delicious combo with a welcoming sweetness from the jam and a hint of spice from the sauce.

Second place winners, Sekayi Brown and Jean Doura, won $100 each for their dog and sausage sandwiches. Their gourmet hot dog, known as the “Spicy Brooklyn,” was a deep-fried beer-battered spicy dog. Their sausage submission wowed the judges as they topped the link with a selection of breakfast items and called it the “Fully Loaded,” an idea that intrigued the Firewurst owners.chefs academy

Third place contestants, also recipients of $100 each, were Jessica Locke and Theresa McNair. This duo contributed a mouthwatering dog topped with creamy mac and cheese, hearty homemade chili and crunchy bacon bits. Their sausage sandwich was an apple-spiced pepper trio, a deliciously sweet flavor combination perfect for the fall season.

Firewurst’s owners were so impressed that they mentioned offering many of the submissions on the restaurant menu over a period of time. 

Teams who didn't place will have another shot at getting an item on the menu. Firewurst was so impressed by the entries that they decided to hold the competition again and automatically give those teams a spot in the competition. 

Firewurst has locations in Cary and Raleigh.

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