Faces in the Field: Matt Tunnell explains the Best Dish

by | May 27, 2009

We have a diverse workforce here at the NCDA&CS that focuses on consumer protection, food safety, marketing, accuracy of weights and measures, plant conservation, livestock protection…and more. Once a month, we’ll talk to one of our employees and hopefully provide a behind-the-scenes look at what they do to serve North Carolina.

Matt Tunnell spends a lot of time in restaurants. As a food service specialist for the NCDA&CS Marketing Division, he works with restaurant buyers and chefs in sourcing local food products.  He is also the creator and administrator of the Best Dish in NC restaurant competition that is currently being held in 19 restaurants across the state.

In his own right, Matt is an accomplished amateur chef and enjoys creating meals for both his fiancee and his friends. He has hosted many cooking demonstrations at the State Fair and his excitement about great local foods are apparent in his enthusiasm on the stage. He’s also served as a judge for many cooking competitions throughout the state.

Listen in as Matt explains the Best Dish competition and what inspired him to create the competition. Then go and check out the restaurants yourself and see if you can decide who has the Best Dish!


Many of the chefs will do cooking demonstrations on the stage of the Food Expo to be held during the Got to Be NC Festival at the State Fairgrounds May 29-31. Here is a stage schedule of the cooking stage:

1 p.m. Triangle Gardener Magazine
2 p.m. Fred Thompson, Edible Piedmont Magazine
3 p.m. Mel Melton, Papa Mojos Roadhouse
4 p.m. Patrick Cowden, Weathervane
5 p.m. Patrick Cowden, Weathervane

noon Triangle Gardener Magazine
1 p.m. Lucindy Willis, The Yancey House
2 p.m. Adam Rose, Il Palio Ristorante
3 p.m. Wayne Judd, Cook it up with Chef Wayne
4 p.m. Wayne Judd, Cook it up with Chef Wayne
5 p.m. Jason Smith, 18 Seaboard

noon Triangle Gardener Magazine
1 p.m. Chuck Nelson, The Table at Crestwood
2 p.m. James Welch, Crippen’s
3 p.m. Shane Ingram, Four Square
4 p.m. Michelle Briggs, Inn on Church
5 p.m. Tim Grandinette, WS Prime