The first Durham, North Carolina, series of the renowned Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series will feature four dynamic teams of chefs.

The statewide culinary tournament kicks off in the Bull City with interactive dinner events April 18, 19, and 21.

New to the competition this year, the creation of All-Star Dream Teams allows chefs from different restaurants to partner together for the three-person teams, upping the potential caliber and creating a more fun and competitive atmosphere for all.

The Durham bracket includes two preliminary showdowns and a final Durham Championship battle:

April 18 Dinner—Team Captain-Kocina from Chapel Hill vs. Team Curt's Cucina from Southern Pines.

April 19 Dinner—Team Egg Heads from Durham vs. Team Garnish Nation from Warrenton.

April 21 Durham Championship Dinner—April 18 winning team vs. April 19 winning team.

Team Captain-Kocina from Chapel Hill: Carolina Escobar, Captain Ponchos Grill owner and chef; JP Murcia, Kocina Food Truck owner and chef; and Matthijs Gerritsen, Captain Ponchos Grill sous chef.

Team Curt's Cucina from Southern Pines: Curt Shelvey, Curt's Cucina owner & chef (center); Ryan Laton, Curt’s sous chef & Fayetteville Tech adjunct culinary professor; and Matthew Hannon, from Ironwood Restaurant in Pinehurst.

Team Egg Heads from Durham: Scott Schabot (formerly of Kamado Grille), Keith Calise (formerly of McDaid's on Hillsboro St.) & Tad Balio (formerly of Ruckus and 18 Seaboard).

Team Garnish Nation from Warrenton: Robinson Ferry Restaurant’s Michael Ring, general manager; A.J. Garrelts, chef de cuisine; and David Rose, sous chef.

“Durham is such an amazing food town and was one of our top choices for new locations to host the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series battles during our 2016 season,” says Jimmy Crippen, Competition Dining Series founder and host. “The dinners are going to feature amazing chefs, prime North Carolina foods and creative, delicious dishes. We can’t wait to see what these teams come up with—it’s sure to be fun for everyone involved. And, foodies only have three dinner events in Durham to catch these chefs in action, so get your tickets now before it’s too late.”

During 2016, the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is hosting local tournaments in Durham, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Wilmington. Each of the six regional winners will receive a grand prize package of $2,000 in cash and prizes, a handmade chef knife by Charlotte Bladesmith Steve Watkins of Ironman Forge and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket” provided by ALSCO.

Additionally, all six regional winners move on to compete in the 2016 Battle of Champions to determine an overall state champion at the end of the year.

All Durham events are held at Bay 7 in the American Tobacco Campus located at 318 Blackwell Street. Tickets for the April 18 and 19 battles are $59 each, and tickets for the local finale battle, April 21, are $69 each. Reservations for Durham events are available now.

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