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
  • Jamie Davis, Duck’s Grille & Bar, Jacksonville
  • Joseph Heskin, Oceanic, Wrightsville Beach
  • Massimo Mannino, Nino’s Cucina Italiana, Greenville
  • Brandon Shepard, Urban Street Eats, Swansboro

The pastry chefs are:

  • 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.

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