Noble’s Grille Chef John Bobby and his team won the recent Fire In the Triad chefs’ cook-off. Noble’s Grille, located on Knollwood Street in Winston-Salem, is one of the Jim Noble family of upscale eateries.
He won in a competitive battle against Chef Timothy Bocholis of The Bistro B & Wine Bar in Kernersville. Sixteen chefs from the Triad, including Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Jamestown and Burlington, competed in the competition that began May 14. The competition is part of the much larger Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series, which brings together chefs, farmers and diners for single-elimination dinner battles judged by the public.
Held at Greensboro’s Empire Room, Fire in the Triad challenged the chefs to use two featured ingredients from Cheshire Pork by Heritage Farms in Seven Springs. The chefs were required to use bacon and pork butt in each of their three courses for 140 diners. The chefs are not told what the featured ingredients will be until noon on the day they compete.
Both chefs rose to the occasion. Chef Bobby’s first course was beer braised pork belly, oyster mushrooms, pork butt and bacon sausage, fingerling potatoes, bacon brodo and blackberry mustarda. He followed with a pork sugo, spinach tajarin, garlic chips, grilled fennel, shaved calvander cheese and fried bacon lardons. The dessert course, the brain child of his wife, team member Lucia Bobby, was the runaway hit of the evening: a dark chocolate mousse cake, chocolate-covered bacon pieces and pork butt peanut brittle.
Chef Bocholis’ highest scoring dish of the night was Latin American smoked pork guiso (stew) with peppers, onions and tomatoes, black bean bacon salsa with orange, sweet potato matchsticks and poblano crème fraiche.
Culinary and professional judges for the evening included Todd Dulaney from Our State magazine; Jim Early from the NC BBQ Society; Ted McCall, a culinary instructor at Johnson and Wales University; and Ryan Payne, the 2012 Final Fire champion and executive chef of Weathervane at Southern Season in Chapel Hill. Their votes were weighted at 30 percent. The dining public’s votes were weighted at 70 percent. Official event blogger Nikki Miller-Ka joined the judges as a non-voting guest. Her summary of the event will post Thursday at http://niksnacks.blogspot.com.
Chef John Bobby and his team, which also includes Sara Brown, took home the trophy, a $2,000 check, a handmade chef knife by Ironman Forge of Charlotte and the coveted red chef’s jacket only a Competition Dining finals winner can receive.
The check was presented by Mac Sullivan, chief executive officer of Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, lead sponsor of the event, and Jimmy Crippen, host and founder of Competition Dining.