Got to Be NC Competition Dining: Chef Brian Williams

by | Nov 13, 2014

G2BNC Competition Dining1Once a month we highlight a chef and a recipe from the Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining series. This month, we are featuring Chef Brian Williams of Upstream in Charlotte. Williams made it to the semifinals of this year’s Fire in the City Competition. He describes his cooking style as Asian Fusion.

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 a North Carolina ingredient that is revealed at noon on the day of the competition. This secret ingredient must be used in each of three courses, appetizer, entree and dessert. The competition is held in Asheville, Blowing Rock, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington.

Below is a recipe from Chef Williams using fresh-caught grouper from Charlotte Fish Company. Watch Chef William’s prepare the recipe on The Daily Special segment of Good Day Carolinas on Fox 46 in Charlotte.

Tim Griner’s Pan Roasted Grouperwith scarlet queen turnip & breakfast radish salad, shishito peppers, okra, forbidden rice, ginger vinaigrette


  • 6 ( 6 ounce) grouper filets
  • 6 scarlet queen turnips – shaved thin
  • 12 breakfast radishes – shaved thin
  • 2 cups black forbidden rice
  • 1/2 pound local okra – cut lengthwise
  • 12 shishito peppers – small dice
  • 1/2 cup pickled ginger with liquid
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 scallion – minced, green part only


For the rice:

  • Combine the black rice with 2 1/2 cups water
  • Bring rice to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Remove from heat, add the scallion and fluff with a fork


For the grouper:

  • Heat a heavy cast iron pan medium/ high heat
  • Season the grouper with salt and pepper
  • Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan then add the grouper filets
  • Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes


For the okra:

  • Wipe out the grouper pan with wet paper towels
  • Return to medium/ high heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Add the shishito peppers and sauté for 30 seconds
  • Add the okra and sauté for four minutes until tender, season with salt and pepper


For the salad:

  • Combine the turnips, radish, pickled ginger with liquid and sesame oil


To assemble:

  • Divide the rice into 6 bowls, place the okra around the rice
  • Set the fish on top of the rice, place the salad on top of the fish

The Final Fire competition starts Nov. 19 at the Renaissance Hotel at North Hills in Raleigh. The first pits Fire on the Dock winner Antine Murray from the Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington against Fire on the Rock winner Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake in Flat Rock.  Tickets are still available.