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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

First Woman Chef wins Competition Dining in Asheville

Chef Michelle Bailey
In Asheville last night, Chef Michelle Bailey pumped a triumphant fist in the air as Got To Be NC Competition Dining host Jimmy Crippen announced that she was the first woman chef to lead a team to victory since the series started in 2012. The finale was held at Biltmore Estate. Bailey is the chef at Season’s at the Highland Lake Inn in Flat Rock. Like many competitors, she won the close battle with Asheville’s Sam Etheridge of Ambrozia Bar + Bistro with the dessert course.

Eight chefs from Asheville, Boone and Flat Rock competed in the seven-dinner series that began March 10 and concluded last night at the Lioncrest at Biltmore in Asheville. Diners watched tensely as the final scores and numbers posted for each dish. Bailey triumphed in the close battle by almost three points. The chef and teammates Stephen Hertz and Todd Mallin took home a $2000 check, a handmade chef knife by Ironman Forge in Charlotte, and the coveted red chef’s jacket only a Competition Dining winner can wear.

Mac Sullivan, chief executive officer of Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, and Jimmy Crippen, host and founder of Got To Be NC Competition Dining, presented the $2000 check to Chef Bailey and her team.

The final Fire on the Rock battle challenged the chefs to use two featured ingredients, Lusty Munk® Mustard and Beulah’s Bavarian Pretzels, both based in Asheville. The chefs are not told what the featured ingredient of the night will be until noon on the day they compete.

Both chefs rose to the occasion. Bailey’s highest scoring dish of the evening was dessert: Chipotle Mustard Chocolate Cake, Buttermilk Altar Boy Ice Cream, Beulah's Bavarian Pretzel Tuile, Fizzy Blackberry and Lemon Relish, Lusty Monk Raspberry Coulis and Salted Pretzel Caramel Sauce.

For Etheridge, the top-scoring dish was Lobster Sausage, Arugula, Citrus Honey Mustard, Beulah's Bavarian Pretzel Beer-Battered Smoked Shrimp, Chipotle Mustard Tartar Sauce, Slaw, Blue Crab Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust and Champagne Mustard Cream.

Asheville is a food lover's paradise, with many farm-to-fork restaurants, dozens of local craft beers and farms to visit. For more, go to our vacation guide at

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