Norm’s Farms featured in the NC Competition Dining Series
Norm’s Farms products got some special attention on July 18 at the Battle 4 Round of the NC Competition Dining Series held in Raleigh this year. The NC Competition Dinging Series has become a pretty big deal in North Carolina with competitions occurring throughout the year in six different cities. Two teams of chefs compete in each battle round and the winner of each city’s six battle rounds walks away with 2000.00 dollars and a lot to crow about. North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture “Got To Be NC” program is a co-sponsor of the NC Competition Dining Series and each event features mystery ingredients that are either grown, caught, raised or made in our state. Battle Round 4 featured the team “The Scratch Mavericks”, comprised of Jessica Ricks, sous chef and Chelsi Hogue, owner, proprietor and executive chef at The Hen & The Hog in Halifax, NC and Jeremy Law, owner and chef at Soco Farm & Food in Wilson, NC. The other team, “Orange Crush”, featured Rich Carter, executive chef, Sara Samuels, personal chef and Anthony Calcagno, executive pastry chef at Catering Works out of Raleigh. Here’s the fun part: neither team knows what the mystery ingredients will be until the morning of the competition! Orange Crush and The Scratch Mavericks discovered that Norm’s Farms Extract, Wellness Syrup, Jams and Jelly along with Good Night Brother’s Ham were their surprise ingredients at about 10:30 in the morning and they had the day to dig deep into their culinary creativity to create 3 dishes each for dinner service scheduled for 7:00 that evening. The dining audience was 250 strong, comprised of foodies, farmers, and special invited guests, all of whom are affectionately called “Joes” for voting purposes. The event was also judged by three professional chefs referred to, not surprisingly, as “Pros”.
The two teams competed valiantly and it was an incredibly fun and delicious night. The evening’s favorite dish was created by the Scratch Mavericks and featured Grilled Veal Tenderloin, NC Fingerling Potatoes Confit, Lusty Monk Chipotle Cream, Norm’s Farm Elderberry Wellness Gastrique, Fresh Thyme, and Crushed Marcona Almonds. This dish ultimately put The Scratch Mavericks over the top and earned them the win for the evening.
Our favorite dessert of the night was made by the Orange Crush team and named Elderberry Extract Pavlova with Elderberry Mascarpone, Local Blackberries and North Carolina Bruleed Figs. It earned the second highest score of the evening and as a journalist from WRAL wrote, “This was the dessert of the night, though, because judges at every table were impressed with the perfectly-prepared pavlova, which is a crispy-type pastry with a soft, meringue-like crust. This dish was unbelievable, because it dissolved in your mouth like cotton candy, and the fruit on top made it perfection.” Yep, what she said! Apparently we were not the only ones to enjoy the Pavlova as Catering Works followed up with us later in the week to let us know that they have received multiple requests for the dessert since the competition and are now sourcing their elderberry from Norm’s Farms!