The Triad’s Best chefs say ‘Thanks’
It feels really good being on top, especially if you’re mounted on a list like this. As we check out “our favorites” in this week’s issue, a few alumni make their returns to the top three, and we see some new faces as well.
Best Chef, Forsyth County: Curtis Hackaday, 1703 Restaurant & Catering, Winston-Salem
We’ve written about Hackaday before. His dishes are on a level all their own. The chef seemed a bit surprised to hear he’d been named Best Chef in Forsyth two years running. “It’s nice to be recognized for doing what you love.” But Rebecca Zollicoffer, who owns Let It Grow Produce, didn’t seem surprised in the least. “Curtis is so deserving of this award. His dishes are not only truly creative; he is a huge supporter of our local growers and makers and a really nice guy.”
Second Place: Travis Myers, Willow’s Bistro, Winston-Salem
Myers said the award means even more with the amount of talent in the area. He’s beginning to take his place in leading future chefs. “I am honored and feel the most gratitude from training the next generation of culinary ninjas!”
Receiving the news that his executive chef made top two again, owner Will Kingery had only one thing to say:
“I taught him everything he knows. Just kidding,” he joked. “He has stayed true to local organic produce and does an amazing job. [He’s] probably one of the cleanest chefs that I’ve ever worked with. We are just so happy to have him on our team, and all around he’s just a good guy.”
Myers is well loved in more than just the Triad as North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association recently named him 2018 Chef of the Year. He received the award after winning the NCRLA Chef Showdown last August.
Best Chef, Guilford County: Chris Blackburn, Scrambled Southern Diner, Greensboro
Blackburn is a fine dining chef slinging all the breakfast goodies at his casual and hugely popular, Scrambled. Another winner who takes it a second year in a row, Blackburn was blown away. “I’m so humbled. There are so many chefs that are deserving.” Blackburn is working at Scrambled but also focusing on the catering aspect of his business through Josephine’s Catering. “That’s where my creative side comes in.” Blackburn is burning the candle at both ends lately, as Josephine’s Catering is busier than ever. “I’m up at 3 a.m., and I’ve been working later. I’m really tired, but I also have more energy than ever,” he said. And one of his big fans, Brenda Sutton of Fogowood Food, said she’s not surprised. “He’s got some stiff competition, but he still comes out on top.”
Best Chef Under 30: Anders Benton, Gia Drink Eat Listen, Greensboro
Benton has been a rising star before this year. After a brief stint in the New York City area, Benton returned to Gia with new gusto and even more beautiful dishes. In addition to the “under 30” honor, Benton also received second-place in the Best Chef category in Guilford County.
“While I am humbled to be recognized as one of the best chefs in Guilford County, I have to give a lot of credit to those that I work with,” Benton said. “I’m fortunate enough to have a team beside me that also puts passion and creativity above all else. I plan on continuing to push the envelope, bringing the Triad to a whole new playing field of food.” Benton said he’s thankful to the people of the Triad for supporting Gia and especially grateful to his boss, Nino Giamo. “He continues to foster my insanity.”
Second Place: Ryan Loflin, Rooster’s: A Noble Grille, Winston-Salem
Loflin is getting noticed at this legacy restaurant kitchen after Chef John Bobby left to pursue his own restaurant, and it appears that people are fans. “I’m so thankful to be counted among the best in the Triad,” he said. “We have one of the most fun up-and-coming food scenes around, and none of my dreams could be realized without the immense support from my chef, Brad Pennall, and the wonderful team we’ve built here at Noble’s.”
These chefs will all agree that it’s great to be nominated, and given the culinary talent in our area, that is absolutely true. But awards and recognition only mean so much. The best vote you can make is with your dollar by visiting these local restaurants.
Kristi Maier is a food writer, blogger and cheerleader for all things local who even enjoys cooking in her kitchen, though her kidlets seldom appreciate her efforts