Triangle’s Culinary Showdown: Cooking for the Kids Recap

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cooking for the kids appetizer Photo by Dathan Kazsuk



Night two of Cooking for the Kids, where culinary prowess meets charitable giving, occurred Tuesday night in 1705 East. This competition pits eight local chefs against each other in a battle of gastronomic ingenuity, all while supporting worthy causes—Overflowing Hands and A Place at the Table.

Cooking for the Kids is a culinary spectacle that showcases the talents of the Triangle’s finest chefs. It’s an evening filled with tempting aromas, exquisite flavors and, of course, friendly competition—all for a great cause. 

With two chefs going head-to-head, guests and judges were treated to six divine courses, including two appetizers, two mains and two desserts, each expertly crafted to impress even the most discerning palates.

The judges for the event included Missy Kisthardt from Old North State Food Hall, Inez Nicholson from NCRLA and Amber Rupinta from ABC11. 

None of this would be possible without the generous support of sponsors such as Rocky Top Catering, US Foods, Trophy Brewing, Empire Distributors and many more. Their contributions help make Cooking for the Kids a success year after year.

Competition Dynamics and the Contenders

Before the culinary showdown, chefs must adhere to rules to ensure a fair and exciting competition. This includes the chefs arriving at 9 am and having the menu complete 60 minutes later—given to the event’s Chef Ref. Also, each chef can call on three assistants to help in the competition. 

For the competition that took place on February 28, we were introduced to Blake Gotliffe of Under the Oak Catering and Bobby McFarland of Wye Hill Kitchen. Both chefs brought their A-game, showcasing their unique styles and culinary philosophies to impress the judges and secure their spot in the next round.

Let’s Explore the Culinary Masterpieces

Cooking for the Kids Shrimp
All photos by Dathan Kazsuk.

Appetizer One: Goat cheese and fermented green tomato ceviche, including cherry tomatoes, herbs and shrimp (Gotliffe).

cooking for the kids appetizer

Appetizer Two: Green tomato tortilla, Goat Lady dairy Boursin, avocado-green tomato mousse and chorizo (McFarland).

Cooking for the Kids Filet

Main Course One: Seared bistro filet with Goat Lady Dairy pomme puree, smoked cremini duxelles and green tomato chimichurri (Gotliffe).

Main Course Two: Braised pork shoulder with smoked goat cheese grits, fried pickled green tomato petal and green tomato jalapeno jam (McFarland).

cooking for the kids dessert

Dessert One: Lemon cake with Goat Lady Dairy cremeux, green tomato chutney and honeycomb (Gotliffe).

Cooking for the Kids Dessert

Dessert Two: Goat cheesecake with honey, beets, pretzel-graham crust and candied green tomato (McFarland).

And the Winner is…

After an intense battle, Bobby McFarland of Wye Hill Kitchen emerged victorious, earning a spot in the next round of the competition, which starts on March 6. 

McFarland will join Alejandro Uribe of the University Club, who won on opening night, and Harry Monds of Lula and Sadie’s, who won on Wednesday. David Mitchell of Plates Kitchen and Kevin Ruiz of Oro are other chefs waiting to compete.

Cheers to good food, a couple of great causes and the spirit of community that brings us all together—Cooking for the Kids!

Visit Midtown Magazine for more feature stories.

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