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Jimmy Crippen, creator and host of Fire on the Rock, returns to Blowing Rock this week to host
the 2013 chefs challenge. Photo by Jeff Eason



Originally published: 2013-04-08 12:27:41
Last modified: 2013-04-08 23:42:12

Fire on the Rock comes home

by Jeff Eason

It's back. 

When the Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge began, nearly a decade ago, it was exclusive to Blowing Rock. Now it is a statewide competition with events held at six locations around North Carolina. 

Now, it is time for a little homecoming celebration. 

The preliminary rounds of the Blowing Rock component of the Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge will take place at Meadowbrook Inn from Monday through Thursday, April 8-11. The semifinal round will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, April 16-17, and the finals of the Blowing Rock division will take place on Wednesday, April 24. 

The opening round features the following matchups: Chef James Welch of the Laurel Room at Green Park Inn versus Chef Craig Miller of Jackalope's View on Monday, April 8, Chef Sam Ratchford of Vidalia versus Chef Will Young of the Toe River Lodge on Tuesday, April 9, Chef John Dean of Twigs versus Chef Clark Barlowe of Heirloom on Wednesday, April 10, and Chef Sam Beasley of 1861 Farmhouse versus Chef Julius Kalman of Canyons of the Blue Ridge on Thursday, April 11. 

The semifinals of the Blowing Rock portion of Fire on the Rock will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 16 and 17, and the finals will take place on Wednesday, April 24.

The winner of the Blowing Rock division will face the winner of the Asheville division, Chef Adam Hayes of the Red Stag Grill, in the Fire on the Rock championship on Tuesday, April 30. 

"Competition Dining was born in the mountains, so we fest that we should include all the amazing culinary talent that resides in western North Carolina into the original Fire on the Rock series," said Jimmy Crippen, the restaurateur who founded Fire on the Rock in Blowing Rock eight years ago. "Those Asheville chefs certainly threw down the gauntlet in January, not it's time for the High Country chefs to bring the fire."

The winner of the Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge will receive the coveted red chef's jacket, $2,000 cash and will advance to the state championship of the 2013 Competition Dining Series. 

That chef will face off against the winners of the other regional competitions: Fire on the Dock in Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach; Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh; Fire in the Triad in Greensboro; and Fire in the City in Charlotte. 

Sponsors of the 2013 Competition Dining Series include the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Southern Foods-Pate Dawson, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Swisher Hygiene and Certified Angus Beef. For more information, visit http://www.competitiondining.com.