Raleigh chef wins Competition Dining

Ryan Conklin
Ryan Conklin

Think you don’t like hospital food? UNC REX Healthcare Chef Ryan Conklin recently bested some of the best chefs across two states as the winner of the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series.

It’s a two-state tourney highlighting the best of both North and South Carolina food, agriculture and culinary talent.

One of 70 chefs who competed throughout the year, Conklin first won the regional title in the Triangle and, on Halloween, went on to win the whole thing.

“It was an exciting and long few days of back-to-back battles to get to the finale, which we knew would be the most challenging event of them all, said Conklin.

“We never expected a day full of shucking nearly 700 oysters, which definitely cut into our cooking time, but it was a true test of our team’s culinary talents and a perfect fit for competitive spirit of the tournament,” he continues. “I couldn’t be prouder that we came out on top, showing not just the Triangle, but both states that we’re more than just hospital food.”

The championship battle at the Renaissance Hotel pitted Conklin against Chef Brent Martin of The Summit Room in Charlotte.  Attendees voted on each course using a free app.

Crowd faves

Conklin’s highest scoring dish of the battle was the second course–cornmeal fried Jarrett Bay oyster, slow roasted tomatoes, rosemary chimichurri, pan fried NC grouper, cauliflower puree, Outer Banks SeaSalt, black truffle, and sorrel and langoustine.

The spoils

Conklin’s took home the grand prize of $4,000 cash, two handmade chef knives by Ironman Forge and a trip to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, California.

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