From left, Kim Lloyd, John Pombalis and Craig Miller of Team Jackalope’s View are congratulated by Fire on the Rock host Jimmy Crippen. Jackalope’s View defeated the chef team from Chestnut Grille at the Green Park Inn on Monday night at the Meadowbrook Inn. Photo by Jeff Eason
Thursday, April 11, 2013
(Last modified: 2013-04-11 08:33:34)

Source: The Blowing Rocket

While much of the country was watching the NCAA championship basketball game between Louisville and Michigan on Monday night, approximately 100 people in Blowing Rock were watching a competition of another sort.

The first round of the 2013 Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge turned out to be one for the ages, as Chef James Welch of the Chestnut Grille at the Green Park Inn faced Chef Craig Miller of Jackalope’s View.

The two chefs and their teams utilized the secret ingredients of sturgeon and caviar at the Meadowbrook Inn during the opening match of this year’s event in Blowing Rock.

After six courses had been consumed and judged by the diners, Miller and his team defeated Welch by a cumulative score of 68 to 67.76.

According to Fire on the Rock host and creator Jimmy Crippen, the .24 margin of victory marked the slimmest winning margin in the history of Fire on the Rock and the Competition Dining Series.

During the competition, diners tasted and judged dishes as diverse as a lobster and shrimp cake with wasabi cream and caviar, “surf and turf” with veal, mushroom gravy and pan-seared sturgeon and caviar ice cream with berry sauce.

Diners judged the dishes digitally, using their smart phones and iPads to score them on appearance, aroma, taste, originality and use of secret ingredients.

In addition to the large group of diners, a select number of professional judges also voted in the competition.

“It is fitting that Fire on the Rock’s return to where the competition all started should result in the closest match in the event’s history,” said Crippen.

Tuesday’s competition, ending too late for results for this edition, featured Chef Sam Ratchford of Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar versus Chef Will Young of the Vance Toe River Lodge.

For reservations for one of the upcoming Fire on the Rock dinners, call the Meadowbrook Inn at (828) 295-4300.

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