Finalists Announced for 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown

The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, creator and host of the annual NCRLA Chef Showdown presented by Got to be NC Agriculture, announced the 21 chefs selected to compete in its third annual cooking competition. The chefs and pastry chefs, all based in North Carolina, advance after cooking up the highest-rated dishes across three regional competitions. The main NCRLA Chef Showdown event takes place on Monday, Aug. 27, at Aria at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Center in Uptown Charlotte, N.C.


Selected chefs – sorted into two food categories, savory and sweet – are vying for the 2018 “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year” awards. Chefs will prepare and serve tasting-sized portions to event attendees. The dishes, judged by five culinary experts, receive scores on presentation, taste, and use of local ingredients from North Carolina.

We are so excited for our client, chef Teddy Diggs, who has advanced in the competition! He will be representing his newest concept, Coronato, which is slated to open in 2019.


The 15 savory chefs participating are:

Luca Annunziata, Caffe Siena, Charlotte
Sam Cahoon, Savorez, Wilmington
Antonio Campolio, Persimmons, New Bern
Thomas Card, Counting House at the 21c Museum Hotel, Durham
Chris Coleman, Stoke Charlotte, Charlotte
Teddy Diggs, Coronato, Chapel Hill
Matthew Hannon, Ashten’s, Southern Pines
Joseph Heskin, Oceanic, Wrightsville Beach
Thomas Marlow, Mimosa Grill, Charlotte
Travis Myer, Willows Bistro, Winston-Salem
Scott Ostrander, The Grand Bohemian Hotel, Asheville
James Patterson, Sedgefield Country Club, Raleigh
David Quintana, Dot Dot Dot, Charlotte
Matthew Shepard, McNinch House Restaurant, Charlotte
Brandon Shepard, Urban Street Eats Catering & Food Truck, Cedar Point

The six pastry chefs are:

Samantha Allen, The Fig Tree, Charlotte
Miranda Brown, The Asbury at the Dunhill, Charlotte
Gerald Hawkins, Gaston Country Club, Gastonia
Nicole Lourie, Counting House at the 21c Museum Hotel, Durham
Cody Middleton, Forsyth Country Club, Winston-Salem
Anika Rucker, Fahrenheit Charlotte, Charlotte

Back by popular demand, NCRLA will crown a 2018 “NCRLA Mixologist of the Year,” as six North Carolina distilleries partner with hand-picked bartenders to craft cocktails for guests and judges to enjoy. Distillery and mixologist teams will be announced in the coming weeks.

The NCRLA Chef Showdown presented by Got to Be NC Agriculture is on Monday Aug. 27, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and coincides with the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo. For additional information or to purchase tickets to the 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown, visit