Great Eats in the High Country

One of the greatest things about living in Blowing Rock is the access to great cuisine. Day in and day out you can find great eats in the High Country. A really special event that showcases the talented chefs in the area is Fire on the Rock, hosted by Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant.  Every year there is a culinary competition that pits local chef vs. local chef in a playoff style cooking competition called Fire on the Rock. Sixteen chefs from the area will compete in this year’s competition. The match-ups for this year have been set and the preliminary round starts on January 31.

The chefs will meet for a head-to-head battle with another chef. They will be given a secret ingredient early in the evening, much like the popular TV show "Iron Chef". The chefs will have to use the secret ingredient in all of their dishes. The chef who prepares each of the meals will remain hidden until all the votes for the night are in and tallied, making the competition more exciting and fair. There are professional food critics who will weigh in with their opinion but the people who come in to dine will have the greatest influence on who wins. Top prize for the competition is $2,500 and the coveted Red Chef Jacket.
Here are the match-ups that will take place at Crippen’s Restaurant in the coming weeks:
  • January 31 – Michael Barbato (Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Mountain Resort) vs. Jessica Grogan (craVe)
  • February 1 – James Welch (Green Park Inn) vs. Nate Curtis (Rowland’s at Westglow Resort & Spa)
  • February 7 – Monte Weber (Painted Fish Catering) vs. Hunter Hallmark (Restaurant G at Gideon Ridge)
  • February 8 – Michael Foreman (Bistro Roca) vs. Josh Grogan (Hearthstone Tavern & Grille)
  • February 21 – Guy Thomas (Glidewell’s) vs. Matt Barlow (Table at Crestwood)
  • February 22 – Randall Isaacs (1861 Farmhouse Restaurant & Winery) vs. Gina Paolucci (Paolucci’s Italian Bar & Grill)
  • February 28 – Sam Ratchford (Vidalia Restaurant & Wine Bar) vs. Matt Martin (Café Portofino)
  • February 29 – Matt Franklin (Jackalope’s View) vs. Andrew Long (Storie Street Grille)
If you would like to participate in one of the meals, visit Fire on The Rock’s website or call Crippen’s at 828.295.3487. Challenges begin at 6:30 and the cost is $49 per person, which does not include beverage, tax or gratuity. These seatings will sell out, so plan your dinner well in advance.