For the fourth year, the Asheville Wine & Food Festival hosts the WNC Chefs Challenge sponsored by WNC Magazine. The competition brings together culinary leaders from the region in weekly battles built around a secret ingredient.
The dinners will be held every Tuesday, February 12 through April 30, at Chestnut restaurant, located at 48 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. The quarterfinals and semifinals will follow this summer, leading up to the Asheville Wine & Food Festival, which happens August 23-24.
“This year we are proud to announce that the winner of the competition will receive $5,000,” said Festival Director Bob Bowles. “This competition has grown to be recognized across the Southeast, and we are proud to showcase our great culinary heritage from all parts of Western North Carolina. Where else do you get a chance to experience the culinary talents of chefs from major resorts to local, hometown restaurants?”
At each cook-off, diners will enjoy six plated culinary creations (three from each team) that incorporate a secret ingredient and will then score each dish. The votes from the audience and from a panel of professional chefs, food writers, and culinary experts will then be tallied. A winner, to be announced at the end of the night, will continue to the next round of competition.
Tickets for the WNC Chefs Challenge are $49 per person, and can be purchased online at www.ashevillewineandfood.com or by calling (828) 225-6944. Beverages, sales tax, and gratuity are not included. This year’s benefiting organization is Eliada, a nonprofit agency serving North Carolina’s children and families. February’s competitors are listed below, and a full schedule will be announced soon. Please visit www.ashevillewineandfood.com or www.wncchefschallenge.eventbrite.com for more information.
- February 12: Chef April Moon Harper of Sunny Point Café vs. Chef Daniel Wright of Tomato Jam Café
- February 19: Chef Dan Moore of DoubleTree Catering vs. Chef Edwin French of Pack’s Tavern
- February 26: Chef Mike Fisera of Lexington Avenue Brewery vs.Chef Sean Fernandez of Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- March 5: Chef Brian Ross of Dough vs. Chef Michael Marshall of Harrah’s Cherokee Resort
- March 12: Chef Jonathan Santiago Biltmore Village Inn vs. Chef Steven Goff of Zambra
- March 19: Chef Cary Shackelford of Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community vs. Chef Greg Kilpatrick of HomeGrown
- March 26: Chef Anthony Cerrato of Strada Italiano vs. Chef Bill Klein of Bistro on Biltmore Estate
- April 2: Chef Graham Overal of Jack of Hearts vs. Chef Chuck Kegg of West Asheville Lounge & Kitchen (WALK)
- April 9, 16, 23, & 30 Quarterfinals: TBD
The Asheville Wine & Food Festival was established in 2009 out of a desire to celebrate and showcase area chefs, wineries, farmers, and food producers. Annual events touch on every facet of regional food and drink, including the WNC Chefs Challenge, Sweet, and the Grand Tasting. As a leader in the farm-to-table movement and home to the most visited winery in the country, Asheville was ranked among TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards for top 10 food and wine destinations in the United States in 2011. The city features more than 250 independent restaurants and 12 tailgate markets.
Eliada is a 109-year-old nonprofit agency serving North Carolina’s children and families. Founded in 1903 by Dr. Lucius B. Compton as a home for women and children, Eliada’s full service continuum includes 5-Star Child Development Services (Pre School, After School, Summer Camp, More at Four); Residential and Day Treatment for children and adolescents; Vocational Education and Transitional Living; Foster Care and Therapeutic Foster Care; and Therapeutic Recreation services. Learn more about Eliada’s history and services by visiting www.eliada.org. The agency enters its second century with pride, committed to the fulfillment of its mission of helping children succeed.