Judge for yourself: Best Dish in NC contest judging begins

by | Apr 29, 2009

Cheerwine Ice Cream Napolean offered by The Table At Crestwood

Cheerwine Ice Cream Napolean offered by The Table At Crestwood

The finalists in this year’s Best Dish in NC restaurant contest were recently named and have been posted to the Best Dish Web site. I recently scrolled through the pictures of the dishes in the Fine and Casual dining categories and thought to myself, “wow, I want to be a judge.” I even mentioned it to NCDA&CS marketing specialist/contest coordinator, Matt Tunnell. His response was a dreamy, “If I got a dollar for everyone who said they want to be a judge…”

But giving it a little more thought…I began to wonder exactly how do you choose the best dish? How do you narrow down all of these excellent dishes from all of these talented chefs to choose just two winners? Of course, the 19 restaurants are split between two categories (fine dining and casual dining), and each category is served by an anonymous, three-judge panel. So at least the judges don’t have to select between all 19 restaurants. And there are five criteria on which to judge each restaurant:

* Use of NC products and ingredients in the dish(es) being featured (15%)
* Creativity of ingredients (15%)
* Marketing (20%)
* Plating and Presentation (20%)
* Taste (30%)

But even the judging criteria can’t make the process any easier. But I guess the consolation prize is that the judges get to eat a lot of great food, and visit great restaurants across the state.

Here’s a list of the Best Dish in NC finalists. Click on the restaurant name to see their Best Dish contest entries:

Fine Dining:

Casual Dining:

Okay, so maybe I don’t want to be an official judge. But I do hope to make it to several of these restaurants in the next three months during the contest period (May through July) to get a taste of North Carolina for myself. After all, supporting North Carolina restaurants and local food products makes everyone a winner!