Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining: Chef Anthony Cerrato of Strada Italiano

by | Mar 13, 2014

G2BNC Competition DiningOnce a month we highlight chefs and a recipe from the Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining series. This month, we are featuring Chef Anthony Cerrato of Strada Italiano Resturant in Asheville, who is participating in the Fire on the Rock competition in Asheville. Cerrato describes his cooking style as “classic, simple applications with his own creative style.”

The Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining Series faces off two local chefs in a single elimination, blind dinner format. The chef’s menu is created around the North Carolina ingredient that is revealed at noon on the day of the competition. This secret ingredient must be used in each course. Grand prize is $2,000 and a red chef jacket. The competition is held in Asheville, Blowing Rock, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington.


The Fire on the Rock Challenge in Asheville kicked off thisw week at the Lioncrest on the Biltmore Estate. In the first round on Monday, Cerrato went head-to-head with Chef Sam Ratchford of Vidalia Restaurant & Wine Bar in Boone with Ratchford winning the round.  The North Carolina ingredients chosen for this round were N.C. Wanchese Pink Shrimp and Highland Brewing Company Beer. Fire on the Rock continues through the month of March. For tickets go to

Pink Shrimp Skewers with Cashew Dust, Brussels Sprouts & Carrot, Thunderstruck Pakoras, Cipollini Onion and Citrus Salat, Hot & Sour Fruit Chutney, Green Chutney.

Pink shrimp skewers with cashew dust, Brussels sprouts & carrot, thunderstruck pakoras, Cipollini onion and citrus salat, hot & sour fruit chutney, green chutney.

Following is Cerrato’s recipe for Grilled Coconut Lime Wanchese Pink Shrimp Skewers, which bested Ratchford’s dish in the third course:

Seared coconut shrimp skewers

  • 6 each N.C. Shrimp
  • ½ cup coconut puree
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 each lime zest

Directions: Marinate shrimp in coconut puree, mix with sweet paprika and lime zest. Skewer three shrimp on each skewer and pan sear.

Thunderstruck Pakoras

  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 ½ tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chillies
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 heavy tablespoon chili powder
  • ~5 cups warm water

Directions: Combine everything but cilantro and chillies in bowl. Add warm water to dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Add cilantro and chillies, incorporate, then season to taste. Fry until golden brown.

Apple Cherry Chutney

  • 5 apples, diced
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • pinch ginger powder
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 stick cinnamon

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pot. Cook on medium heat until liquid is thick (syrup) and solids are softened. Remove cinnamon stick and serve warm.

Green Chutney

  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (with stems)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • juice of 3 limes
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup water

Directions: Combine sugar, lime and garlic in blender. Pulse until thick paste forms. Add cilantro, water and coconut milk and blend until smooth.