Cartier to judge NCRLA eastern regional semifinal chef competition

The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association announced that David Cartier of Beaufort will serve on the judging panel for the eastern regional semi-final round of the NCRLA Chef Showdown. He is the co-owner of Hungry Town Tours, featuring culinary and history tours by bike or foot.

Due to strong interest, NCRLA  will hold three regional semi-final rounds prior to the NCRLA Chef Showdown event on Monday, August 27, at Aria at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Center in Uptown Charlotte, N.C.

Nine chefs from eastern North Carolina will compete in the first of three regional semifinals leading up to the third annual NCRLA Chef Showdown. The first regional competition takes place Tuesday, May 22, at Lawson’s Landing in New Bern, N.C.

Regional chef competitors will prepare and serve tasting-sized portions, which will be judged by three culinary experts scoring on presentation, taste and use of local ingredients from North Carolina. The 21 highest-rated chef and pastry chef competitors across the three regional competitions will progress to the finals to compete for the coveted titles of “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year.”

“It’s an honor to be asked to judge one of the regional semi-final competitions that will ultimately determine the best chef, pastry chef, and mixologist in North Carolina,” stated Cartier.

The judging panel also includes Amy Gaw, owner of Outer Banks Sea Salt, and journalist from Grandy, N.C and Bud Taylor, executive chef at The Bistro at Topsail in Surf City.

Competing North Carolina Chefs are Paul Boswell, Henry’s Restaurant & Bar, Wilmington; Sam Cahoon, Savorez, Wilmington; Antonio Campolio, Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant, New Bern; Nicholas Chavez, Cape Fear Country Club, Wilmington; Jamie Davis, Duck’s Grille & Bar, Jacksonville; Joseph Heskin, Oceanic, Wrightsville Beach; Massimo Mannino, Nino’s Cucina Italiana, Greenville; Brandon Shepard, Urban Street Eats, Swansboro

Troy Tipton of the Famous Restaurant & Baking Company in New Bern will represent the area in the pastry chef division.

A 35-year hospitality veteran, Cartier serves on the board of Carteret Catch. The non-profit organization connects local commercial fishermen with area restaurants and fish markets to promote sustainable, traceable seafood.

Cartier explained, “On our culinary tours, we connect the consumer with the local fishermen right at the restaurant table.”

“Education is a big part of what we do,” he said.

Cartier offered this on how his background will play out on judging the dishes: “While 40% of the score is based on Overall Taste, we’ll be paying close attention to the ‘GotToBeNC’ Factor,” he said. “It’s about the number of NC ingredients featured and the chef’s best use of those ingredients,” stressed Cartier.

“At Hungry Town Tours, we pride ourselves in working with restaurants that offer fresh, local products that support local fishermen and farmers,” stated Cartier. Hungry Town Tours is a sponsor of Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market.

“Our culinary partners focus on providing higher quality local ingredients, food with integrity and fresh produce for both seafood and non-seafood diners,” he said.

Cartier looks forward to his interaction with these talented chefs. “Some of these chef’s would be a great addition to Beaufort Wine and Food’s annual festival,” he said.

Beaufort Wine & Food combines the public’s appreciation for wine and food with its drive to support worthy local organizations, and has positioned itself as one of the region’s premier tourism events.

At each regional, chefs will cook for a panel of judges, preparing several servings of a single dish that exemplifies each chef’s individual culinary style and his or her use of North Carolina ingredients.

While the regional semi-final events are closed to the public, NCRLA is granting exclusive access to local media.

The 3rd annual NCRLA Chef Showdown is North Carolina’s premiere culinary competition, featuring the talents of chefs, pastry chefs and mixologists from across the state.

From among the chef applicants, 36 chefs from across the state will be invited to participate in one of the regional semi-final competitions.

Following the regional rounds, a total of 21 chefs will have earned the opportunity to compete in the finals of the 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown. The 15 savory chefs and 6 pastry chefs who qualify after cooking their way through the regional semi-final rounds will be announced to the public the first week of July.

At the finals, the excitement will continue to build with eight savory chefs and four pastry chefs—all top scorers from the regional semi-final rounds—announced as 2018 ultimate finalists! These chefs will present that evening to an esteemed panel of professional culinary judges in hopes of being selected as the 2018 NCRLA Chef of the Year and 2018 NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year. Dishes will be judged on composition, taste, creativity and the best use North Carolina proteins, produce or products.

Last year, the NCRLA winners were Chef of the Year: Matthew Krenz, The Asbury, Charlotte, NC; Pastry Chef of the Year: Ann Marie Stefaney, Heirloom, Charlotte, NC; and Mixologist of the Year: Amanda Britton, Crown Town Cocktails, for Muddy River Distillery.

The 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown is presented by the marketing arm of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Got to be NC.

The two remaining semi-final rounds will take place Monday, June 4, at Highland Avenue in Hickory, N.C. and Monday, June 25, at Vidrio in Raleigh, N.C.

Established in 1947, the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) works to advance and protect North Carolina’s $23.5 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry. The association provides access to the resources and support restaurant and lodging professionals need to lead thriving businesses, while serving as conscientious, contributing members of an unparalleled industry. To learn more information about NCRLA or its membership opportunities and cost-saving benefits, please visit