Triangle chef Ryan Payne from Weathervane (of Chapel Hills Southern Season store) battled through to win the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series final Nov. 17. This was a series of competition dining events, held in Blowing Rock, Wilmington, the Triangle and the Triad, in which two chefs would go head to head, and had to use designated N.C. products in creating their meals.
The Got To Be NC goal is to promote N.C. products and chefs; this is the first statewide competition its done. Next year, plans call for the competition to expand into Charlotte and to add Asheville in its Western NC series.
The Final Four were Michael Foreman of Bistro Roca in Blowing Rock, George Neal of 1618 Seafood Grille in Greensboro, Andy Hopper of Chefs 105 in Morehead City and Payne. He topped Foreman in the finale, in which both had to use pork jowls and Pepsi in three courses for 160 diners in the ballroom of the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel.
Culinary pro judges were CNN Eatocracy blog managing editor Kit Kinsman; Evan Nash of Johnson & Wales in Charlotte; Scott Craig of Charlotte, one of six Americans to win a gold medal at Octobers International Culinary Olympics; Dathan Kuzsak, a food blogger and design editor at the Triangle Business Journal; and Daniel Benjamin, pastry chef at Herons in Cary. Their scores were 70 percent of the total, with audience scores 30 percent. Payne won $4,000, Foreman $1,000.
IKEA hosts a Swedish Julbord buffet for $12.99 on Dec. 7 (kids 12 and younger pay $4.99): The all-you-can-eat lineup includes Swedish holiday ham, smoked salmon, Swedish style meatballs with lingonberries, assorted herring and more -- including glögg! ( Thats mulled wine.) 8300 Ikea Blvd., 704-549-4532.
High tea and boutique shopping are slated for The Duke Mansion on Dec. 2. Starting at 2 p.m., youll find goods from shops such as The Buttercup, The Blossom Shop, Jeffre Scott Apothecary, Reids Fine Foods, Twenty Degrees Chocolates, blis Uptown and more. Tea with sandwiches, canapes and sweets will be served at 3. $35 for adults, $15 for 5-12; reserve by Nov. 28 at 704-714-4445 or email email@example.com; 400 Hermitage Road.
Tavern 24 is open at 421 Cox Road in Gastonia, the second in the chain but the first newly constructed one, and the first in North Carolina: Its described as a place for folks whod rather drink in a restaurant than eat in a bar by its CEO, Jim Balis, and the menu includes stuffed beer burgers (marinated in stout, stuffed with Monterey Jack and topped with caramelized onions), buttermilk-marinated Calabash chicken tenders, pizzas and vegetarian items. 704-864-0688; www.tavern24.com.