Battle Uncle Scott’s Root Beer – Chef David Lucarelli from The Cowfish vs Chef David Moore from Gallery Restaurant at Ballantyne. Moore takes the win!

Chefs David Lucarelli and David Moore with Suzanne and Scott Ramsey makers of Uncle Scott's Rootbeer i

Chefs David Lucarelli and David Moore with Suzanne and Scott Ramsey makers of Uncle Scott’s Rootbeer in Mooresville, NC

It was another fabulous evening of Competition Dining last night, Wednesday Sept 4, at the Bonterra Dining & Wine Room in Charlotte’s historic Dilworth neighborhood, with two very talented chefs and their culinary teams battling it out head to head, spoon to spoon.. It was Battle Uncle Scott’s Root Beer with Chef David Lucarelli from The Cowfish vs Chef David Moore from Gallery Restaurant at Ballantyne.

 
Each of the six courses were as beautiful to look at as they were delicious to eat. There was not a bad or misthought plate in the line up; but in the end the victorious team simply brought out  and accentuated more of the nuances and flavor of this locally brewed and bottled root beer from Mooresville NC.
 
Enjoy the selection of wines and beers from Juice Wine Purveyors and Triple C Brewing at each Fire in the City dinner.

Enjoy the selection of wines and beers from Juice Wine Purveyors and Triple C Brewing at each Fire in the City dinner.

As is the case with each of the Competition Dining dinners, the evening started with a selection of wines from Juice Wine Purveyors and local beers from Charlotte’s own Triple C Brewing at the Bonterra bar. At each dinner Juice offers a four different wines by the glass and 4 wines by the bottle, each  specially selected for each dinner thru the series; while the beer guys at Triple C offer a trio of local beers each night this week. Guests may also order anything from the Bonterra bar or award winning wine list.

While the action in the kitchen had been going on all day – it was around 7 pm that guests were seated and the game of Competition Dining was ready to begin.   As creator Jimmy Crippen likes to say at the start of each dinner, “The sun is setting, its time to light the fire!”

This second fire of the Fire in the City series was a tremendous battle between two very talented chefs and their culinary teams. Each took a different approach, but both thought the Uncle Scott’s Root Beer was a difficult product with which to work.

 
The Competition Dining team from The Cowfish

The Competition Dining team from The Cowfish

“The flavor profile was a challenging one, and it first it through us for a loop” noted Chef Lucarelli from The Cowfish. “With all of its aromatic flavors it was a hard product to find ways to  incorporate into a trio of dishes.”

David Moore and the team from Gallery Restaurant at Ballantyne Resort

David Moore and the team from Gallery Restaurant at Ballantyne Resort

Chef Moore agreed taking the approach to bring out some of those unique flavors and highlight them using the  variety of proteins and produce available to both chefs from the Competition Dining mobile pantry.

 

After 6 1/2 hours of fast and furious prep time and menu planning, the dinner that insued was delicious.  While the diners each evening do know what the secret ingredient is before they start eating, they don’t know which chef prepared each plate and so they vote blind on taste, aroma, texture and the best use and flavor of the secret ingredient.

 
First Course from Chef David Lucarelli at The Cowfish

First Course from Chef David Lucarelli at The Cowfish

The first plate of the night was as it turned out from Chef Lucarelli and the Cowfish team –  Grilled NC Shrimp, Asian Pear, Jicama Salad, Piperade & Uncle Scott’s Root Beer Balsamic Gastrique .

The shrimp on this plate were perfectly cooked and pear and jicama salad a refreshing foil to start; and  Lucarelli’s piperade here was spot on.

 
Course 2 from Chef David Moore of Gallery Restaurant

Course 2 from Chef David Moore of Gallery Restaurant

The second plate was from Chef Moore and the team at Gallery restaurant. Toasted Uncle Scott’s Root Beer Spiced Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, Muscadine & Cubanelle Pepper Root Beer Aspic. As  I had been in early and saw what the chefs were making, I was not voting this evening;  but I will say, as I did on my Twitter feed – @HeidiCooks –  last night , while I loved the tender duck on this dish -it was the root beer aspic that totally blew me away  and the crunchy toasty bits of root beer –  amazing!

Just  a touch of these two intensely flavored items rested on top of the duck, but the flavor was deep, warm and rich    –  this plate was perhaps my personal favorite of the night.

 
 
Course Three from Chef David Lucarelli

Course Three from Chef David Lucarelli

The third plate of the evening was again from Chef Lucarelli and interestingly  featured tasty tender  duck as well –  Uncle Scott’s Duck, Root Beer Glazed Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, Sweet Potato Quinoa Risotto, Fried Leek, Tart Cherry Demi.

On this plate the duck was glazed with a reduced rootbeer, roasted and then thin sliced and with tart cheery demi was for me a winning combination of flavor as well as a  great blend of texture and taste.
 
Course Four from Chef David Moore

Course Four from Chef David Moore

The fourth plate of the dinner was from Chef Moore and the Gallery Restaurant team. Black Garlic Root Beer Confit Cheshire Pork Belly, Uncle Scott’s Root Beer Braised Yucca Root, Ashe County Redneck Romano Galette, Root Beer, Caramelized Pink Lady Apple & Shallot Jam

It was an excellent plate, but funny to say, what I personally like the best on this plate didn’t have anything to do with the root beer – it was the small crunchy cheese galette  that caught my eye and my tastebuds.

 
 
As soon as I knew the secret ingredient was root beer I also knew the evening had potential for some fabulous desserts – while I at first was secretly praying for some sort of cool deconstructed rootbeer float, both chefs far surpassed my hopes and expectations.
 
Course Five from chef David Lucarelli

Course Five from chef David Lucarelli

From Chef David Lucarelli, the 5th plate – a melt in your mouth bowl of Fig and Goat Cheese Homemade Ice Cream, Fried Wontons, Uncle Scott’s Root Beer Syrup. Ice cream for 100 guests, all served at the same time is an ambitious endeavor to say the least, but The Cowfish team pulled it off with scrumptious results.

 
 
 
Course six from Chef David Moore

Course six from Chef David Moore

The sixth plate, a dessert from Chef David Moore – Uncle Scott’s Root Beer Ganache, Mousse & Glacè, Root Cherry Marmalade. This plate was a sophisticated presentation of flavors that each played one off the other for a perfect finish.

Jimmy Cripppens interviews the battles winning team for a video to post on the Competition Dining website

Jimmy Cripppens interviews the battles winning team for a video to post on the Competition Dining website

In the end, after votes were locked in and tallied, it was Chef David Moore and his team from the Gallery Restaurant at Ballantyne who took the win.

David and his team will go on the battle again in the semi final round against Chef Phil Barnes and his team from Rooster’s  in the first round of Fire in the City  semi finals on Sept 30 – get your tickets now; they will sell out fast!

For more information on The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar visit – www.Thecowfish.com

For more information on Gallery Restaurant at Ballantyne Resort visit – www.gallery-restaurant.com

For more information on Uncle Scott’s All Natural Root Beer visit  – http://unclescottsrootbeer.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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