BTS at NC Competition Dining

Behind the scenes at GotToBeNC Competition Dining

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor

Earlier this week I was able to spend more than a few hours documenting the GotToBeNC Competition Dining preparations and competition. If you are unfamiliar with NC Competition Dining you can read about it here.  But in a nutshell, it is two chefs who are given a NC secret ingredient in the morning that must be incorporated into each dish. They have the rest of the day to come up with, prepare and plate 3 dishes, one sweet and two savory, and get it ready to serve to apx 140 diners! No easy task. The courses are served to the diners and judges blindly, meaning that they don’t know who’s course is who’s. People try to guess of course, but more often then not, they guess wrongly. Each chef can have two helpers and the Comp provides a chef referee/on site observer. Once the secret ingredient is revealed to the chefs they plan their menus, hit the Pate-Dawson food trailer to check and see what else they can use. It was revealed that the refrigerated trailer holds over 30k in product! From chicken to duck to duck fat to fresh veggies to seafood to flour and spices, it is all there. Just about anything the chefs could imagine was available to them for their use.

The night I was there, 2 most excellent chefs were competing, Clark Barlowe of Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Clark made a deep run in last years comp and Mike was fresh off of winning his first battle. This was going to be an epic competition. I arrived at 2pm, maybe 4 hours from when the chefs were first told their secret ingredients, which were coffee and chocolate! Unusual choices for sure. Each chef had already come up with their menus and preparations were in full swing. Clark was slicing leeks and Mike was rolling dough.

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner. Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015 Photos by Peter TaylorScenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner. Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015 Photos by Peter Taylor

The competition takes place at Bonterra, utilizing the whole restaurant. The kitchen is divided into two areas, each chef working in their designated space. The stove top was almost a neutral, no mans land with every burner being used. Things were sautéing, braising and reducing, it smelled like heaven! One of the coolest things to me is how each team worked with and around the other. No one was territorial or pushy and no one said no to any questions or ask of help. Even though they were competing, they were gentlemen first. Ovens were shared, racks held trays of food from both teams, lots of ‘excuse me chef’s’ and ‘no problem chef’s’ filled the air. I caught a few sideways and over the shoulder glances from each chef as they watched what the other was doing. These were usually followed by a respectful nod of the head. Final menus were due at 430 and prep wrapped up then too. Just kidding! Prep went on until the food was served! It was amazing to watch the teams all work together. I imagine it says a lot about both chefs and their restaurants that everyone knew what to do and when to do it and no on argued or made any mistakes. Clark wrapped about 50 lamb loins in caul fat and seared them, while Mike’s team made 140 creeps for his duck dish! Clarke’s team cut out 280 pieces of chocolate cake (2 on each serving) and Mike hand made 140 pieces of flakey pie dough tuilles. The work these teams did was tremendous!

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor

At 645, Bonterra was full! Drinks flowed and laughter could be heard everywhere, except the kitchen. The line was clean and 140 plates lined every flat area in stacks of 5. Host/founder/Director Jimmy Crippen announced it was time to begin and started to show short videos introducing the chefs. In the back it was time to plate the first course. Chef/Ref Bobby Z and both teams lined up. All watched as Chef Mike showed them all how to plate his first course. Then everyone took a ‘touch’ and lined up one behind the other and in a line, they plated each dish. Both teams helped the other one in the plating. It was a very cool expression of honor and comradery. And there is no way the plates would have all been done without everyone’s help! Finished plates were passed thru the pass where Bonterra’s Chef Blake Hartwick worked to clean them all up and call for runners. It all ran very smoothly and exceptionally well. I was super impressed. This went on for the next 2.5 hours, each team taking its turn.

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner. Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015 Photos by Peter Taylor

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter TaylorScenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor

There are scores of course, this is a competition after all. There are two scores, one set from the regulars Joes who came to the event and one from the Pros who are invited to judge. On this night, it was Chef Mike and his team from Vivace that won and moved forward in the competition, but it was the diners who won with all the exceptional food they ate! Jimmy  and Bobby Z announced that this was the best battle yet. Such great food and such great prep! All in all it is a great event and one that I would recommend for anyone to go to.

Here are the final dishes:

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor

Certified Angus Beef® Brand Strip Loin of Beef Tartar, Harissa Spiced Cactus Creek Coffee Old Mill of Guilford Grits Cake, Cauliflower Puree, Marcona Almond-Black Mountain Chocolate-Coca Nib Vinaigrette
Chef Mike Suppa

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor

Brown Butter Poached NC Oysters, Cocoa-Coffee Roasted Leek, Apple Wood Smoked Bacon, Crawfish, Potato, Cucumber, Ran-Lew Dairy Whey-Cactus Creek Peruvian Copicafé Coffee-Black Mountain Chocolate Cocoa Nib Broth
Chef Clark Barlowe

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor

Seared Maple Leaf Farms Breast of Duck, Braised Duck Crepe, Lavender-Carrot Puree, Spiced Cactus Creek Brazilian Cerrado Coffee Syrup
Chef Mike Suppa

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor

Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Caul Fat-Cactus Creek Brazilian Coffee & Black Mountain Chocolate Cocoa Roasted Lamb Loin, Radish, Oyster Mushroom, Farro Verde, Foie Gras-Cocoa Nib Vinaigrette, Chocolate Offal Jus
Chef Clark Barlowe

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner.Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015Photos by Peter Taylor

Lemon Curd, Flaky Pie Dough Tuille, Italian Meringue, Black Mountain Chocolate Cocoa Nibs, Cactus Creek Brazilian Roast Coffee Marinated Raspberries
Chef Mike Suppa

Scenes from the NC Competition Dining held at Bonterra. Battling it out on this night were Clark Barlowe from Heirloom and Mike Suppa from Vivace. Chef Suppa was the winner. Photographed in Charlotte, NC April 20th, 2015 Photos by Peter Taylor

Cactus Creek Tanzanian Peaberry-Black Mountain Chocolate Coca Nib Cake, Cocoa Nib-Coffee-Hickory Smoked Berries, Chocolate Ganache, Vanilla Bean Mascarpone
Chef Clark Barlowe

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My latest video – A Life on Two Wheels, My Uncle Terry’s Story

Yesterday I put the final touches on my latest video. It features my Uncle Terry. He has been riding bikes since 1944! That’s 71 years! He is 77 years old. Bicycling has always been the most important thing in his life, to the point of being detrimental to many other parts of his life. But, he never gave it up. He still rides 20-40 miles a day and hopes to recreate his cross country ride next summer at 78 years old!

Making this video was both easy and very hard. It was easy because he has great stories and tells them with ease. It was hard because the first edit came in at 16 minutes! A lot of great stuff was left on the cutting room floor, as they say. The story about hitting a dog while race training in Louisiana didn’t make it (he hitchhiked to the hospital with his bike AND a broken neck)(the dog was not hurt), the story about drinking milkshakes at every Rexall Drug store they passed while riding thru Kansas and the one about never being able to retire because he couldn’t afford bicycling on social security! I hope I was able to narrow it down to a fun and entertaining video!

 

https://vimeo.com/124486981

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Congrats Katie Button!

Asheville Chef Katie Button ( Curate, Nightbell ) has just been announced, along with 9 others, as a Food and Wines 2015 Best New Chef! That is awesome! I worked with Katie on a shoot for the now defunct Food Arts magazine ( RIP ) back in 2011. She was great to work with! Here she is in her restaurant Curate and her signature dish, fried eggplant with honey and rosemary. Congrats Chef!katiebutton-2

curate.food-2

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More tear sheets!

More tear sheets are coming in everyday. We were really busy at the end of last year and that work is showing up now. This is from an industry magazine called Multi-Family Executive. The magazine provides apartment executives with apartment and condo industry news, multifamily design ideas, apartment technology information, etc. As a working editorial photographer, I am often contacted by magazines such as this. Not one you’ll find on the newsstand, but an important resource for a specific industry. I really enjoy working for them and get to meet some interesting folks. Meeting these people is one of the main reasons I do what I do, to meet new and interesting people. I think they did a great job in their photo choices. The inside shot I had thought would be too ‘artsy’ for them, but I was super happy to see it run full page!

02.15.MFEcover 02.15.MFE.inside.sml

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Bicycling Magazine

Got a call from a new client a few months ago, Bicycling Magazine. They had an assignment in Statesville, NC. Their Art Director Jimmy found me thru the standard web searches and Wonderful Machine. We talked on the phone about bikes and riding and Penn. and then we talked about the assignment. Kinda a cool thing, turns out one of the largest mountain bike collections in the world is in Statesville, at First Flight Bicycles. Walking into the shop, you are already blown away by the size and amount of cool and unusual bikes all over the sales floor. But then you look up and there are over 100 more vintage bikes along the walls and hanging from the ceiling! Pretty awesome stuff. Then I met the owner and collector, Jeff Archer, and he says, are you ready to see the Museum? What? There’s more? The Museum of Mountain Bike Art and Technology is not he second floor and houses over 350 bikes, mountains of components, tires, jerseys, wheels (even wooden wheels) and frames. He has one of the first Breezers, look it up! I found this shoot to be both hard and easy. One one hand there is visual candy everywhere you look, but on the other hand, how do you capture the enormity of the collection. I settled on shooting a 7 frame pano that was stitched together in PS. Turned out pretty good, dontcha think? Jimmy liked my work so much, that I have already shot a second gig for them. Repeat clients make me happy!

bicycling

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