Got to Be NC Competition Dining: 2014 Fire on the Rock Champion Chef Michelle Bailey

by | Dec 11, 2014

G2BNC Competition Dining1Once a month we highlight a chef and a recipe from the Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining series. This competition 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. The Final Fire competition pits the winners of each regional competition against each other.

This month, we are featuring Chef Michelle Bailey of Seasons Restaurant at Highland Lake Inn and Resort in Flat Rock. Bailey was the 2014 winner of the Fire on the Rock competition. She describes her cooking style as “refined American cuisine utilizing local and/or  sustainably sourced ingredients with a focus on traditional Southern techniques and international flavor profiles.”

Final Fire round 1 winners Chef Michelle Bailey and her team.

Final Fire round 1 winners Chef Michelle Bailey and her team.

Bailey competed against Fire on the Dock Champion Antoine Murray of Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington in the first round of Final Fire last month in Raleigh. The secret ingredients for the battle were Piedmont Candy Co. Peppermint Puffs and Certified Angus Beef Brand Ribeye. Bailey went on to compete the next evening against Fire in the City Champion Jon Fortes where Fortes took the win.

The recipe below is from the first battle of Final Fire and was one of the highest scoring dishes for Bailey.

 Bacon and Peppermint Buttermilk Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 10 egg yolks, preferably local
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • pinch kosher salt
  • ¾ cup bacon, rendered until crisp, drained, chopped
  • ¾ cup Piedmont Candy Co. peppermint puffs, crushed


1. Combine the cream and 1 cup of the sugar in a large, heavy saucepot and bring to a gentle simmer.
2. Combine remaining ¼ cup of sugar with the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Slowly temper the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly and taking care not to curdle the eggs.
4. Pour the egg/cream mixture back into the saucepot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the sauce becomes think enough to coat the back of a spoon.
5. Strain the mixture and then whisk in the buttermilk and salt. Chill over an ice bath and cool completely. Ideally, overnight in the refrigerator.
6. Process the cold custard according to the manufacturer’s directions on your ice cream maker.
7. Once ice cream has thickened and achieved a smooth creamy texture, remove from the machine and fold in the bacon and peppermint candies.
8. Cover and store in the freezer at least 6 hours prior to serving.

Bacon Peppermint Ice Cream

Course Five: Chocolate, Mushroom & Stout Cake, Torched Pink Peppercorn Marshmallow Fluff, Piedmont Candy Co. Peppermint & Nueske’s Bacon Buttermilk Ice Cream, Salted Caramel, Crisp Peppermint Meringues, Cherry & Peppermint Coulis

Tickets to attend the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series event make great gifts and can be ordered online at