I judged this event September 28. First of all, they are not auctioning off chefs. The auction part of the event is for donated items, luxury-oriented, ranging from a vacation in Hawaii to original paintings, other home décor, as well as personal services from various salons- hair cut, coloring, styling, etc. Proceeds benefit the March of Dimes, whose efforts on behalf of at risk babies is certainly worthy of support.
Eight area chefs provided food samples, and the audience as well as four “pro” judges rated the dishes. The chefs/restaurants were Brad Semon/The Painted Plate (catering)- a New York Strip steak flanked by grits topped with crabmeat, Nino Giaimo and Eric Snow/GIA – meatball with sweet potatoes on the side, Derek Cress/Cristina Gray’s at the JH Adams Inn in High Point- cherry braised short ribs and a dessert, John Drees/Southern Lights- baby back ribs and a crab cake with remoulade sauce, Matt Kidd/1618 Midtown- crispy pork belly and steamed wahoo, James R. Patterson/Sedgefield Country Club- pork cheek and beef tongue tacos, Chris Russell/B.Christopher’s- pork tenderloin with apples and onions and garlic mashed potatoes, and Michael Harkenread/The Undercurrent- braised beef with potatoes.
I have judged a lot of chef competitions. Although these events produce a designated winner, in my judgment, there are no losers. It takes nerve to even enter such an event, and a lot of skill to pull it off for an audience so large. I found no weak entries. Everything was good. Some dishes struck me as better than others, but all chefs showed solid performance.
The audience winner was John Drees of Southern Lights. The “pro” judges picked the entry from Brad Semon/The Painted Plate. I would add that only two points (out of 104) separated him from Chris Russell of B.Christopher’s on the four “pro” ballots. br />
A great evening of good fun and good food for a worthy cause!