The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, creator and host of the annual NCRLA Chef Showdown presented by Got to be NC Agriculture, announced the 21 chefs selected to compete in its third annual cooking competition.
Among those selected is Antonio Campolio of Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern.
The chefs and pastry chefs, all based in North Carolina, advance after cooking up the highest-rated dishes across three regional competitions. The main NCRLA Chef Showdown event takes place on Monday, Aug. 27, at Aria at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Center in Uptown Charlotte, N.C.
From the Persimmons website: At the age of 12, Chef Campolio began washing dishes at his parents’ restaurant. Beginning at age 18, Chef Campolio worked his way through the world famous Greenbrier Hotel’s Culinary Internship Program, learning valuable skills he still uses daily. After his time at the Greenbrier, Chef Campolio continued his career at 700 Drayton in Savannah, Ga. and later at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Co. Before coming to Persimmons, Chef Campolio was the Executive Chef at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, Wa., where he lead the restaurant to numerous national accolades including Restaurant of the Year by the Washington Wine Commission. During his time in Washington, Chef Campolio was invited to cook a meal at the James Beard House (named for the legendary American chef) in New York City, one of the highest honors a chef can receive.
Recently becoming a father, Chef Campolio and his wife, Zeljana, were attracted to New Bern as a great place to raise their son. “We visited and fell in love with the town for our family. Then I went to Persimmons and saw an incredible opportunity to really focus on local, sustainable food year-round. It was a perfect fit.”
In his short time at Persimmons, Chef Campolio has already established relationships with local farmers, ranchers and breweries and says the restaurant will feature bi-seasonal menus to highlight the foods that are fresh and at their peak. He wants Persimmons to be a place for “locals and tourists alike — where they can count on fresh, delicious and local food, whether just getting a beer and appetizer or enjoying lunch or dinner.”
“This year’s slate of contenders includes some of the most innovative and talented chefs in our state. At the showdown, these chefs will use North Carolina ingredients to demonstrate their creativity and shine a light on our incredible hospitality industry. Attendees will get a taste of why North Carolina’s culinary scene is one of the best in the nation,” said NCRLA President and CEO Lynn Minges.
Selected chefs – sorted into two food categories, savory and sweet – are vying for the 2018 “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year” awards. Chefs will prepare and serve tasting-sized portions to event attendees. The dishes, judged by five culinary experts, receive scores on presentation, taste, and use of local ingredients from North Carolina.
The 15 savory chefs are:
- Luca Annunziata, Caffe Siena, Charlotte
- Sam Cahoon, Savorez, Wilmington
- Antonio Campolio, Persimmons, New Bern
- Thomas Card, Counting House at the 21c Museum Hotel, Durham
- Chris Coleman, Stoke Charlotte, Charlotte
- Teddy Diggs, Coronato, Chapel Hill
- Matthew Hannon, Ashten’s, Southern Pines
- Joseph Heskin, Oceanic, Wrightsville Beach
- Thomas Marlow, Mimosa Grill, Charlotte
- Travis Myer, Willows Bistro, Winston-Salem
- Scott Ostrander, The Grand Bohemian Hotel, Asheville
- James Patterson, Sedgefield Country Club, Raleigh
- David Quintana, Dot Dot Dot, Charlotte
- Matthew Shepard, McNinch House Restaurant, Charlotte
- Brandon Shepard, Urban Street Eats Catering & Food Truck, Cedar Point
The six pastry chefs are:
- Samantha Allen, The Fig Tree, Charlotte
- Miranda Brown, The Asbury at the Dunhill, Charlotte
- Gerald Hawkins, Gaston Country Club, Gastonia
- Nicole Lourie, Counting House at the 21c Museum Hotel, Durham
- Cody Middleton, Forsyth Country Club, Winston-Salem
- Anika Rucker, Fahrenheit Charlotte, Charlotte
NCRLA will crown a 2018 “NCRLA Mixologist of the Year,” as six North Carolina distilleries partner with hand-picked bartenders to craft cocktails for guests and judges to enjoy. Distillery and mixologist teams will be announced in the coming weeks.
The NCRLA Chef Showdown presented by Got to Be NC Agriculture is on Monday Aug. 27, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and coincides with the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo. For additional information or to purchase tickets to the 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown, visit www.ncrla.org/chefshowdown/.