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Local chef picked for NC competition

Chef Michelle Bailey and the Highland Lake Inn have been selected to compete in the annual "Got To Be NC" dining competition, Fire on the Rock.

The competition, which promotes North Carolina grown ingredients, is judged by paying guests who sample each course in a blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges in seven dinner competitions. Each evening, two restaurants compete side-by-side in a single elimination format.
Bailey and Highland Lake Inn, the only Henderson County chef and restaurant selected for the event, will compete on March 11 against ISIS Restaurant and Music Hall of Asheville, under the spatula of chef Mike Mahoney.
Guests savor a six-course menu — made up of three dishes from each chef without knowing whose food they're tasting — created around a featured ingredient that must come from a North Carolina farm or artisan producer. The featured ingredient, revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking, must be used in each of the three courses.
Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, will rate each dish and determine who moves on to the next round and who goes home.
Other chef matchups are:


  • March 10: Vidalia, Boone (Samuel Ratchford) vs. Strada Italiano, Asheville (Anthony Cerrato)
  • March 17: Gamekeeper Restaurant & Bar, Boone (Edwin Bloodworth) vs. Ambrozia Bar & Bistro, Asheville (Sam Etheridge)
  • March 18: King James Public House, Asheville (Steven Goff) vs. Lexington Avenue Brewery, Asheville (Michael Fisera).
  • Winners of the first round dinners go on to meet in the semifinals. The two semifinal winners meet March 31.

At stake is a grand prize of $2,000, a handmade chef knife by Ironman Forge in Charlotte and the coveted "Red Chef Jacket." The runner-up receives $500. Reservations for first-round dinners cost $59 excluding beverage, tax and tip. Reservations for the semifinals and final are $69. Reservations may be made at