Friday, April 19, 2024

Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series to feature a ‘dream team’ of Wilmington chefs

The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is once again coming to Wrightsville Beach. Tickets for the chef cook-off are now on sale. Courtesy photo.
The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is once again coming to Wrightsville Beach. This year’s event will feature a “dream team” of local chefs. (Courtesy photo.)

WILMINGTON — The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is gearing up for another battle of the chefs this year in the Port City. Tickets are now available for those who want to join in on the action and experience a six-course meal prepared by a “dream team” of local chefs.

Chefs from four restaurants in the Wilmington area will battle it out during the three-round culinary tournament set to run Sept. 19-22 at Bluewater Waterfront Grill, 4 Marina St., Wrightsville Beach. Each team will pit for a chance to be named Wilmington’s champion and move on to the final battle of the statewide competition in November.

The cook-off in Wilmington has brought out some fierce competition in years past, said Competition Dining Series founder and host Jimmy Crippen, who added that he is excited to return to the coast for the traveling statewide tournament this year.

Described by Crippen as an emotionally-inspired dining experience, paying guests will have the chance to blind taste a six-course meal created by competing chef teams and savor recipes made with featured North Carolina-grown ingredients. Featured ingredients come from a North Carolina farmer or artisan producer and are revealed to competing chefs just one hour before they begin to cook.

Guests will weigh-in on the blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges. Attendees vote on each dish using their smart devices, and ultimately help determine who moves on to the next round.

“It’s kind of like a rock and roll concert for chefs. We encourage hooting and hollering. You can expect to have to taste things that may not be in your comfort zones,” Crippen said. “It’s a competition … there are strategies involved. You don’t know what to expect and that’s the fun of it.”

New to the competition this year, is the concept of a “All-Star Dream Team,” Crippen said. The four restaurants have put together a team of their peers, each with their own unique culinary talents.

“It’s a once-in-a-generation experience you may never get again,” Crippen said of the meals inspired during the the cook-off.

The Sept. 19 competition will include meals prepared by Team Pine Valley Market and Team Miso Hungry, both from Wilmington. On Sept. 20, diners will experience meals prepared by Team 65 Roses from Carolina Beach and Team Ceviche’s from Wrightsville Beach.

During the final tournament on Sept. 22, the two winning teams from the previous challenges will battle for the chance to compete against champions of other culinary competitions held in Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte, during the Battle of Champions in the fall.

Read related story: Wilmington among stops for statewide chef cook-off

Tickets for the battle on Sept. 19 and 20 are $59 each. Tickets for the local finale battle on Sept. 22 are $69 each. Ticket sales include North Carolina sales tax and service fees. Beverages are not included in the ticket price, but the event will feature a cash bar.

“The dinners are going to feature dynamic chefs, premier North Carolina ingredients and creative, mouth-watering dishes. Not to mention, the diners will get to eat with breathtaking waterfront views,” Crippen said.

The Competition Dining Series is s sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, Certified Angus Beef and other partners throughout the state. For this year’s chef team line-up and to register a seat for the event visit the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series website.

Christina Haley is a reporter for Port City Daily. She can be reached at or 910-772-6306. Follow her on Twitter @TinaHaley8

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