Team Bios

Durham Series Teams

Durham Series Teams

Team Captain-Kocina

Captain Ponchos Grill & Kocina Food Truck in Chapel Hill

Team Captain KocinA: Carolina Escobar, JP Murcia & Matthijs Gerritsen

Carolina Escobar was born and raised in Mexico. She learned the traditional art of food culture at a young age. Her knowledge and experience started working at a taco truck in California. Now with her husband Hector they owned “Captain Ponchos” taco truck. Captain Ponchos was born in 2009, bringing the best of Mexican cuisine to the triangle area. Carolina and Hector would like to welcome you to their new location at Southern Village 708 West Market Street, Chapel Hill and are open from 11am to 9pm Monday thru Sunday.

JP Murcia was born in Cali, Colombia with Spanish descent, the owner/operator of this family-run food truck immigrated to the United States in 1991 and soon followed a successful culinary career in  New York City. Chef J.P Murcia moved to North Carolina in 2007 to make a fresh start as The Executive Chef for a major local university, J.P and his long time partner, Kelly, decided to bring the taste of his homeland with dishes that have an artistic and local spin.

2501 Blue Ridge Road Suite G190 Raleigh, NC 27607, Truck: 919.906.6216, Restaurant: 984.200.4289


Durham Series Teams

Team Curt's Cucina

Curt's Cucina in Southern Pines

Curt Shelvey, Chef and Owner of Curt’s Cucina in Southern Pines N.C. was born and raised in New England from Vermont to Connecticut. He has been in and around restaurants since 10 years of age. Curt spent much of his time growing up in Italian restaurants as a dishwasher and prep cook. He later joined the US Marine Corp after high school and served 4 years then returned back to the kitchen. Chef Shelvey has worked at:  The Cloister Hotel in Sea Island Georgia, Interstate Hotel Corporation and Pinehurst Resort and Country Club. He was also the Coordinator of Culinary Arts at Sandhills Community College. Every person that steps into "Curts Kitchen" can taste his love for culinary in every dish that he serves. 

Ryan Laton is an adjunct culinary professor at Fayetteville Tech and is the Sous Chef at Curt's. 

Matthew Hannon is on the culinary team at Ironwood Restaurant in Pinehurst. Matt has battled in the 2012 Fire in the Triangle series as the chef of Ashten's in Southern Pines.

Durham Series Teams

Team Egg Heads

Another Broken Egg Cafe in Durham

Hailing from Another Broken Egg Cafe, Team Egg Heads consist of Scott Schabot (formerly of Kamado Grille), Keith Calise (formerly of McDaid's on Hillsboro St.) & Tad Balio o formerly of Ruckus and 18 Seaboard.  

Another Broken Egg Cafe located in Durham less than one mile from Interstate 15 or Highway 147 Near Erwin Rd's intersection with Downing Street. Another Broken Egg Cafe offers exceptionally unique creations, ranging from new twists on Eggs Benedict and Gourmet Omelettes to unbelievable Biscuit Beignets, Cinnamon Roll French Toast and so much more.

Durham Series Teams

Team Garnish Nation

Robinson Ferry Restaurant in Warrenton

Michael Ring, formerly of Warren FoodWorks and The Burger Barn, is the general manager, and Angela Whitney, who worked at Robinson Ferry before, runs front of the house and is bar manager. The young couple moved to the mountains the summer of 2015 with plans to return to school. But two weeks later, thanks to Michael’s reputation for flavors and putting new twists on fresh foods, and Angela’s attention to service and friendly personality, they were summoned back to re-open Robinson Ferry.

In addition to Ring, there are four chefs in the kitchen, which is led by energetic Chef de Cuisine A.J. Garrelts, a former executive chef at a Virginia winery whose dishes are long on flavor and presentation. “His food’s out-of-this-world good,” Ring said. “His flavor profile, his experience is awesome, and he has some wine-making experience.”

Garrelts’ No. 2 is Sous Chef David Rose, who formerly lived in Miami, Fla., and brings a Cuban influence to his cooking, Ring said. The only one of the chefs with a culinary school background, Rose is in charge of the burger of the week, including a popular grilled cheese cheeseburger recently on the menu.


Winston-Salem Teams

Winston-Salem Teams

Team Miller Time

Graze Restaurant in Winston-Salem

GRAZE, a place where neighbors can meet, eat and drink!  Our menu is rooted in local seasonal flavors, palatable pours and regional brews all fused together to create a unique culinary and dining experience. The arrangement of the tables and the seating encourages conversation and fun - a sense that this is a community gathering. The menu is set up the same way.  A meal here might be one or two items for one person or several items served up to share with companions or your neighbor seated at the bar.

Team Miller Time from Winston-Salem: Richard Miller, Graze Restaurant chef de cuisine and 2015 Competition Dining Series’ Triad champion; Kevin Woods, Twin City Quarter executive chef; and Tim Gallione, executive chef at O’Callahan’s Publick House in Mocksville.

Video introduction >

Winston-Salem Teams

Team Vidalia Boom

Vidalia in Boone, NC

Across from the Watauga County courthouse sits a gem, a restaurant that brings to the table quality service, inspired culinary creations and a relaxed atmosphere. Vidalia of Boone is one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the High Country.

Team Vidalia Boom from Boone: Sam Ratchford, Vidalia Restaurant co-owner and executive chef; Julius Kalman, Vidalia Restaurant co-owner; and Jason Walsh, Vidalia Restaurant chef. 

Sam Ratchford, the executive chef and owner of Vidalia restaurant in downtown Boone, has many accolades to back up his cooking. His talents have garnered him two back-to-back appearances in the Fire on the Rock competition held annually: Ratchford made it to the finale of the 2013 competition and to the semifinals in 2014. “I started doing dishes when I was 16,” Ratchford said of the humble beginnings of his culinary career. “I started to work for some older chefs and they started teaching me how to cook, that was how I started to get interested in it. I went to New England Culinary Institute in Vermont in 1998 and I have been cooking ever since.” Ratchford’s passion comes from his creative nature, and he comes to work every day to what he considers his dream job.“I really can’t see myself doing a 9 to 5 sit down job,” he said with a smile. “I like to be on my feet and be creative.”His creativity and his passion for cooking began at his roots. Sam grew up in the High Country, in Blowing Rock to be exact, after his family moved to the area in 1983. He started working at various restaurants in the area honing his skills, until he became the chef at Storie Street Grille in Blowing Rock. There, he sharpened his craft, and at the same time happened upon his now wife, Alyce.

Winston-Salem Teams

Team Los Tres Jefes

Bistro B, Chef Dion Sprenkle, Cane Ventures in Kernersville, Lexington, Greensboro

Dream Team Los Tres Jefes consists of three Competition Dining veterans.

From Kernersville: Timothy BocholisBistro B Signature Dining & Wine Bar; from Greensboro: Chef Mitchell Nicks, formerly of Muse Restaurant and Sedgefield Country Club; and from Lexington: 2015 Triad finalist Chef Dion Sprenkle of Chef Dion Sprenkle Restaurant and Catering 

We at Bistro B are committed to making your dining experience the most memorable ever. Since our opening in 2009, we have treated our guests to "Food Art" inspired by the great Old World cuisines of Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France. We also feature palate pleasers with distinct South American and Caribbean accents. Tapas and Mezze - small plates meant for sharing between family and friends are ago old traditions in the Old World. But you don't have to go to Madrid or Athens or Venice to experience legendary Tapas and Mezze style dining. You just have to come to Bistro B. Share life. Eat well!

Chef Dion Sprenkle is excited to offer "something different" at his new restaurant in Lexington, North Carolina. His menu has a distinct Mediterranean accent, featuring local and seasonal produce and North Carolina meats and seafood. "We want our guests' experience to be special every time they come. At Dion the food always has a little twist, a touch of creativity. Our servers are friendly...yet very professional. We've created a contemporary atmosphere where even families feel comfortable."​ Chef Dion Sprenkle is a classically-trained chef who graduated in 1992 from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. His resume includes some of the finest restaurants in New York. Sprenkle was the chef de cuisine at the New York Palace Hotel, executive chef at The Water Club and at Spazzia Restaurant and chef de cuisine at Spartina Restaurant. He also gained valuable experience in the kitchens of Gotham Bar & Grill and The River Cafe. Most recently, Chef Dion created a new level of culinary excellence as Executive Chef at Old Town Club in Winston-Salem.

Winston-Salem Teams

Team Phoenix Brevard

The Phoenix Brevard in Brevard

The Phoenix is Brevard's only Farm to Table Gastropub & Music Venue.  We are proud to support our local farmers; sourcing our food from Busy Bee Farm, Hickory Nut Gap Farm, Alfred Owen Trout Farm, and Down to Earth Farm.  All of our meats are antibiotic and growth hormone free, and our menu is seasonal so we can offer the freshest ingredients possible.

Team Phoenix Brevard from Brevard: Miles Hogsed, The Phoenix executive chef; and Shawn Winbush and Jadedyn Whittemore, The Phoenix chefs. 

Executive Chef Miles Hogsed began his restaurant career at age 14. He worked his way up the ladder, and at 18 was hired as an apprentice chef for The Greystone Inn. He has spent most of his time since then working in Country Clubs and Fine Dining establishments. Miles joined us in October 2014, and has been a wonderful addition to our team. He has a passion for cooking, and takes pride in sourcing the freshest ingredients possible to create beautiful dishes that taste as good as they look! 

Greensboro Teams

Greensboro Teams

Wiley Pickle Weasels

Undercurrent Restaurant in Greensboro

Since May 1998, Undercurrent Restaurant has been at the top of the list in elegant dining in downtown Greensboro. Listed as one of the “Top Ten Restaurants in Greensboro” by USA Today, we have consistently led the way in the elegant dining restaurant scene in downtown Greensboro for more than 16 years. Since relocating in 2006, our new location is very close to the downtown Marriott Hotel and the new Grasshoppers’ baseball stadium. Our address is 327 Battleground Avenue.

Greensboro Teams

Team Hobnob

Hobnob in Brevard

Located in an old family home right on Main Street, Hobnob Restaurant offers big city dining with the comfortable ambiance that only a quaint mountain town like Brevard, North Carolina can provide. Come by for the memorable experience of dining and hobnobing. Hobnob is a Brevard, North Carolina family owned restaurant company. Since 1999 Hobnob has established a restaurant division, offered catering and developed a private parties service for its Brevard clients in Transylvania County. Hobnob has become Brevard local restaurant favorite!

Greensboro Teams

The Natives

Native Kitchen and Social Pub in Asheville

Off the beaten path just 10 miles outside of downtown Asheville, Native Kitchen & Social Pub is the next unexpected destination spot. Check out live music from local musicians in our cozy and eclectic pub, enjoy our patio area year-round, and hang out in our backyard where the kids and the family dog can run and play. Native’s inviting atmosphere is perfect for relaxing and quenching your thirst with one of our 12 local beers on tap. Also featured is our exceptional wine list and handcrafted Saki cocktails. Native Kitchen keeps things fresh by delivering an exquisite local and seasonal menu year round. So whether its for the food, drinks, or live music, make Native Kitchen & Social Pub your next destination spot!

Greensboro Teams

Sedgefield Culinary Crushers

Sedgefield Country Club in

Sedgefield Culinary Crushers - James R. Patterson III, Isaac Spencer, Tim Alston

James R. Patterson III, originally of Wilmington, NC, took over the helm as Executive Chef of Sedgefield Country Club in March of 2014, having been with McConnell golf for 10 years.  JP brings with him his Down South Culinary Flare and inventive twists of Old Southern Cuisine using Local Ingredients.  JP was heavily influenced by his family and the love that they put into the food that was brought to the table. JP’s previous stints include Charleston, SC (Cypress), Durham (Four Square), and Chapel Hill (Grille at Glen Lennox).  He is joined by Isaac Spencer as his Sous Chef, a local from Ramseur with a Passion for “ALL THINGS SOUTHERN.”  Isaac worked as a Line/Prep Cook for the previous 6 years at Sedgefield while also working as the Sous Chef of The Greensboro Coliseum and their Catering Team.  Tim Alston originally from Crown Heights in Brooklyn, NY, has been with Sedgefield for nearly 9 years now and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Culinary Team at the Club where he leads the Day Shift while also assisting in Banquets and Events as needed in the evenings. The entire Culinary Staff of Sedgefield deserves Credit for its operations, so choosing our team was a difficult task.  Sedgefield Country Club plays hosts to numerous events throughout the year, none larger than the PGA Tour stop, The Wyndham Championship, hosted in August of 2016. Whether cooking for Member Socials, A La Carte Dining, Club Events, Weddings, or even our Monthly Cooking Classes, JP and his crew are always driven to provide the best experience for the members and their guests. 

Raleigh Teams

Raleigh Teams


Iron Hen Cafe in Greensboro

Team Ironclad from Greensboro: Michael Roberson executive chef at Iron Hen Café and Fresh Local Good Food Group; Kathryn Hubert, executive assistant at Fresh Local Good Food Group; and Michael Turner, sous chef at Fresh Local Good Food Group.

Raleigh Teams

Scratch Mavericks

The Hen & The Hog in Halifax, NC

Team Scratch Mavericks from Halifax: Chelsi Hogue, owner, proprietor and executive chef at The Hen & The Hog; Jeremy Law, owner and chef at Soco Farm & Food in Wilson; and Jessica Ricks, sous chef at The Hen & The Hog.

Raleigh Teams

Orange Crush

Catering Works in Raleigh, NC

Team Orange Crush from Raleigh: Rich Carter, executive chef at Catering Works; Sara Samuels, personal chef at Catering Works; and Anthony Calcagno, executive pastry chef at Catering Works. 

Raleigh Teams


Piedmont Biofarm in Pittsboro

Team Brinehaus from Raleigh: Steven Goff, owner and chef at soon-to-open Brine Haus Meat + Provisions food truck and former head butcher at Standard Foods; Geoff Seleen, chef and farmer at Piedmont Biofarm in Pittsboro; and Chris Valenzuela, lead line cook at Old Etowah Smokehouse in Etowah.

Charlotte Teams

Charlotte Teams

Bistro 127

Bistro 127 in Hickory

Team Bistro127 led by team captain Shawn Bank, executive chef at Bistro127 of Hickory; John Edwards, sous chef; and Jeff Croft, assistant sous chef.

Charlotte Teams

Vicious & Delicious

Southminster & Craft Cakes in Charlotte

Team Vicious and Delicious from Charlotte: Ryan Forte executive chef at Southminster; Phillip Platoni, chef de cuisine at Southminster; and Brigitte Oger, owner at Craft Cakes in Charlotte

Charlotte Teams

Fahrenheit Charlotte

Fahrenheit in Charlotte

Team Fahrenheit Charlotte: David Feimster, executive chef; Rachel Child, pastry chef and Lewis Carter, sous chef.

Charlotte Teams

Team Heirloom

Team Heirloom in Charlotte

Team Heirloom from Charlotte: Clark Barlowe, chef and proprietor at Heirloom; Myles Scaglione, executive sous chef at Heirloom; and Ann Marie Stefany, pastry chef at Heirloom.

Wilmington Teams

Wilmington Teams

Team Ceviche's

Ceviche's in Wrightsville Beach

Team Ceviche’s from Wrightsville Beach: Team Captain Sam Cahoon, executive chef of Ceviche’s; and Edson Juarez and Eric Smith, sous chefs at Ceviche’s.