NCRLA announces chef lineup for 2017 NC Chef Showdown

Raleigh – The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, creator and host of the NC Chef Showdown, announces the 16 chefs selected to compete in its second annual cooking competition. The chefs, all based in North Carolina, were selected following a rigorous application and selection process. Forty chefs total applied to the competition.

NC Chef Showdown 2017

“This year’s selection brings together some of the most innovate chefs in our state. At the showdown, these chefs will use North Carolina ingredients to demonstrate their creativity and will showcase the quality of the hospitality industry in North Carolina. Event attendees and judges will get a taste of how the state’s food scene has advanced,” said NCRLA President and CEO Lynn Minges.

Selected chefs—broken into two food categories, savory and sweet—are vying for the 2017 “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “Pastry Chef of the Year” awards. Chefs will prepare and serve tasting-sized portions to event attendees. The dishes, judged by six culinary experts, will be scored on presentation, taste and use of local ingredients from North Carolina. Additional awards include “Best Use of a North Carolina Product” and “Most Creative Presentation.” The “People’s Choice” awards are determined by showdown attendees.

The 12 savory chefs are:
Chef Thomas Card | Executive Chef | The Counting House Restaurant at the 21c Museum Hotel | Durham
Chef Jim Diecchio | Executive Chef | Rocksalt | Charlotte
Chef Timothy Grandinetti | Executive Chef | Spring House Restaurant Kitchen & Bar | Winston-Salem
Chef Matthew Krenz | Executive Chef/Culinary Director | The Asbury at The Dunhill Hotel | Charlotte
Chef Lil Lacassagne | Chef/Ower | Saint Jacques at The Burke Manor Inn | Gibsonville
Chef Thomas Marlow | Executive Chef | Mimosa Grill | Charlotte
Chef Scott Ostrander | Executive Chef | The Grand Bohemian Hotel | Asheville
Chef Phillip Platoni | Chef De Cuisine | Southminster Continued Care Retirement Community | Charlotte
Chef Adam Reed | Chef/Owner | Sante | Matthews
Chef Scott Schabot | Executive Chef | Cameron Bar and Grill | Raleigh
Chef Bud Taylor | Chef/Owner | The Bistro Topsail | Surf City
Chef Alyssa Wilen | Chef/Owner | Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen | Charlotte

The four pastry chefs include:
Chef Julius Kalman | Owner/Pastry Chef | Vidalia | Boone
Chef Shelby Smith | Pastry Chef | Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery | Chapel Hill
Chef Ann Marie Stefaney | Pastry Chef | Heirloom Restaurant | Charlotte
Chef Hannah Woociker | Pastry Chef | Highland Avenue | Hickory

“New this year, NCRLA will crown a 2017 ‘Mixologist of the Year,’ as six North Carolina distilleries will be featured with hand-picked bartenders crafting cocktails for guests and judges to enjoy,” said Minges.

Distillery/mixologist teams will be announced in the coming weeks.

The showdown is Aug. 21, from 6 to 9 p.m., and coincides with the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo. For additional information or to purchase tickets to the 2017 NC Chef Showdown, visit