The Chef’s Academy hosted the second annual Triangle Chef Showdown on Thursday, September 27 on its Morrisville campus. Four celebrity chefs participated in a cooking competition as they battled for votes from attendees. The contestants included Chef Keith Rhodes, Chef Scott Schabot, Chef Ryan Payne and Chef John Mannino. Each chef was responsible for incorporating the color orange into their dish in support of September’s Hunger Action Month, a campaign of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to help support the nearly 500,000 individuals suffering from hunger in its 34-county service area. Triangle Chef Showdown was an enormous success with The Chef’s Academy donating 100,000 meals to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Not only did the guests get to witness a fierce cooking competition, their bellies were kept happy with an endless supply of gourmet food. Students from The Chef's Academy prepared all of the appetizers, desserts and pastries. Twelve pastry students each set up their own dessert stations, which featured a unique dessert menu created by the student. The culinary students also helped the four competing celebrity chefs prepare tastings of the dishes for guests to sample and vote on. Triangle Chef Showdown attracted people from the Greater Raleigh area and beyond.

The crowd was kept entertained by Sharon Delaney and Valonda Calloway, hosts of NBC 17’s My Carolina Today. Point updates for each chef were announced every 30 minutes, keeping guests on the edge of their seats. The competition was incredibly close with all contestants within 200 votes of the winner. The talented Chef Ryan Payne, executive chef at The Weathervane at Southern Season in Chapel Hill was deemed the winner of the second annual Triangle Chef Showdown. He created an exquisite pulled pork barbeque dish, which was also beautifully plated.

Not only was the food absolutely phenomenal, the event also included wine and beer tastings. Mary Margaret McCamic, current director of career services and instructor of wine and communication studies for The Chef’s Academy, led the wine tasting. Mims Distributing, a beer distributor servicing the Triangle, led a beer tasting for the beer connoisseurs at the event. Guests were able to eat, drink and be merry as they also enjoyed live music entertainment throughout the evening by The Chris Hendricks Band.

The second annual Triangle Chef Showdown was a wonderful opportunity for students, instructors and event guests to donate to people in North Carolina suffering from hunger. I couldn't think of a better evening; sampling gourmet food and giving back to your community.

Written by local Foodie, Kristen. Follow her foodie adventures on Twitter!

*Photography credit to MMI Public Relations.