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NCRLA resumes statewide Chef of the Year competition

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NCRLA Chef Showdown

Chefs David Swing (from left), John Tharp, John Bobby and Phillip Platoni take a break during the June 7 preliminary round of the NCRLA Chef Showdown. Swing, Tharp and Platoni all are competing for N.C. Chef of the Year. Bobby hosted the chefs in his kitchen at Bobby Boy Bakeshop, which he co-owns with this wife, Lucia.

The NCRLA Chef Showdown is back after a year’s hiatus.

This statewide competition, canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, is sponsored by the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association. It awards titles of Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and Mixologist and Distillery of the Year.

Presented by Got To Be NC Agriculture, the Chef Showdown features competitors who showcase North Carolina ingredients in their creations. “Chef Showdown is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the incredible talent of the North Carolina hospitality industry,” said Lynn Minges, the president of the NCRLA. “We are excited to once again celebrate the creativity and innovation of our remarkable chefs and mixologists across the state.”

The competition includes four preliminary rounds that features 48 chefs across the state.

The third preliminary round, held June 7 at Bobby Boy Bakeshop in Winston-Salem, featured such Triad chefs as David Swing of Young Cardinal Cafe in Winston-Salem: John Tharp of Bleu Cuisine (formerly chef of Trade Street Diner) in Winston-Salem; Richard Miller of Five Loaves Catering in Winston-Salem; and Trey Prescott of The Prescott in Kernersville.

Previous preliminary rounds were held April 26 in Morehead City and May 17 in Charlotte. The fourth preliminary round will be June 14 in Raleigh.

Once the preliminary rounds are completed, those winners will advance to the regional final in Raleigh on July 19 and the statewide Chef Showdown in Durham on Aug. 9.

The Chef Showdown will be open to the public and will feature a tasting of food and beverages from the finalists.

For more information, including how to get tickets to the Chef Showdown, visit



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