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.
Antonio Campolio, NCRLA Chef Showdown 2018 finalist. He is executive chef at Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern.
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.
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.
Seems like everywhere I’ve lived, there was one local burger joint that grabbed my attention. Sorry to say, in the almost 10 years I’ve lived in New Bern, I’ve not found one that rises above the rest so much so that crave it.
So, dear readers, help me out. Who does burgers the best in New Bern? And for that matter, who does fries the best?
You can suggest chain restaurants, but what I’m really interested in is locally owned restaurants and grills.
Post your favorites in comments or use the contact form below. I’ll compile the results in a poll in a few days.
Local chefs from New Bern, Antonio Campolio of Persimmons and Troy Tipton of Famous, will join other chefs from Eastern North Carolina to face off in the first of three regional semifinals for a chance to compete in the third annual NCRLA Chef Showdown.
The first round of semifinals will be held Tuesday, May 22, at Lawson’s Landing in New Bern, where the chefs will prepare and serve tasting-size portions to be judged by three culinary experts. The event is not open to the public.
The top 21 highest-rated chefs across the three regional competitions will progress to finals to compete for the titles of “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year.”
The savory chefs are:
Paul Boswell, Henry’s Restaurant & Bar, Wilmington
Sam Cahoon, Savorez, Wilmington
Antonio Campolio, Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant, New Bern
Nicholas Chavez, Cape Fear Country Club, Wilmington
Troy Tipton, Famous Restaurant & Baking Company, New Bern
The judges are:
Amy Gaw, Owner of Outer Banks Sea Salt, and journalist, Grandy
Bud Taylor, Executive Chef, The Bistro at Topsail, Surf City
David Cartier, Owner of Hungry Town Tours, Beaufort, NC and Board Member of Carteret Catch and Beaufort Food & Wine
Due to strong interest, NCRLA introduced three regional semi-final rounds—the first to be held Tuesday, May 22, at Lawson’s Landing in New Bern—prior to the main NCRLA Chef Showdown event on Monday, Aug. 27, at Aria at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Center in Uptown Charlotte.
The two remaining semi-final rounds will take place Monday, June 4, at Highland Avenue in Hickory. and Monday, June 25, at Vidrio in Raleigh.
Regional chef competitors will prepare and serve tasting-sized portions, which will be judged by three culinary experts scoring on presentation, taste and use of local ingredients from North Carolina. The 21 highest-rated chef and pastry chef competitors across the three regional competitions will progress to the finals to compete for the coveted titles of “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year.”
Established in 1947, the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) works to advance and protect North Carolina’s $23.5 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry. The association provides access to the resources and support restaurant and lodging professionals need to lead thriving businesses, while serving as conscientious, contributing members of an unparalleled industry. To learn more information about NCRLA or its membership opportunities and cost-saving benefits, please visit www.ncrla.org.