Tag Archives: Chef Adams

Restaurant Week – The Piedmont, Durham, NC


  • Executive Chef: Ben Adams
  • Location: 401-B2 Foster St. Durham, NC 27701
  • Phone: 919-683-1213

Emblem_Triangle2015v4Piedmont Restaurant in Durham was the last designation for The Friends during their Triangle Restaurant Week adventure. Piedmont is known for using local, organic and sustainable NC products. According to their Facebook page Piedmont states, “Our food is inspired by seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers and purveyors.”

Ben Adams is the chef at Piedmont. By chance earlier in the week, Traveler had attended one of the Trial-by-Fire events in the Triangle NC Competition Dining Events where Chef Adams was one of the competing chefs. In his bio for this event, Chef Adams says, “My cooking style is modern American, refined comfort, seasonally driven and local.” The dishes Chef Adams creates are innovative and exemplify the farm to table concept done right.

logo-smallWe took a few minutes to look over the menu and make our selections. Piedmont’s Restaurant Week menu was varied and large enough to allow us each to select something different and share tastings around the table. During the NC Competition Dining event Traveler met Jennifer Noble Kelly, the publicist for Piedmont Restaurant, and shared that Piedmont was one of our choices for Restaurant Week. Jennifer told Traveler to let her know when we would be dining at Piedmont. Traveler made sure Jennifer knew we were on our way. To our surprise we were treated to additional appetizers Pan-seared scallops and house-made fettuccini with NC blue crab, trout roe with a smokey crème fraiche off the regular menu. The scallops were seared to perfection and locked in the tender juices. The fettuccini had the most delicate sauce that tasted fantastic.

The Traveler choices for the night were fried NC oysters for a starter and Smoked spiced-rubbed Green Buttons Farm’s pork chop accompanied by Shotgun Betty-braised cabbage and pine roasted fingerlings. The pork chop was juicy and flavorful and the cabbage cooked to perfection.

I decided on Lil’ Farm’s organic greens followed by spice-crusted NC flounder with pine-roasted fingerlings and braised fennel with a smokey fumet. The flounder was cooked just right – light and flaky.

Bad Boy selected marinated Heeks Farm beets with house-made ricotta and blackened NC Catfish with Carolina Gold hoppin’ john and braised collards. Bad Boy said the catfish was blackened to his liking and the sides added great flavor to the plate.

All of us felt the spices were used to arouse the palate but left plenty of room for the natural flavors of the food to come through. Also the chef’s mixings of flavors and textures added interest to each plate.

As Traveler and I were discussing the desserts, Bad Boy made the decision for us. Since there were three desserts and three of us, we would just order one of each:

  • Horchata semifreddo, avocado-coconut sorbet with sweet potato-tamarind sauce
  • Sticky Date Cake, salted caramel ice cream, dulce de leche
  • Coconut cashew cake, salted caramel-chocolate sauce with chocolate cashew ice cream

Each of the deserts was delicious but the Horchata semifreddo was our favorite.

The Piedmont is located in a refurbished 1930s Nash dealership. The environment is hip and urban complimented by a simple décor, high ceilings and soft lights. The ambiance is cozy, intimate and comfy. This can be attributed to General Manager, Crawford Leavoy’s belief in “guest-focused attention.” He wanders throughout greeting and engaging diners. When Crawford stopped by our table, he and Traveler discovered they had something in common – Traveler had worked in the town Crawford was born in Louisiana.

We had amazing service making our meal extremely enjoyable. Alexis, our server, was knowledgeable, friendly and attentive but not hovering. She could easily explain ingredients, techniques used in preparing the dishes as well as the flavorings and paring of the foods.

The Friends rated their meal and evening at Piedmont their best overall experience of Triangle Restaurant week. The fresh meal prepared with attention to detail and severed in a great restaurant environment didn’t disappoint. The three of us left with smiles on our s_belle_smfaces and looking forward to a return visit.


Trial By Fire: Battle – Chelsi vs. Ben


logo2How it works: Paying guests get to sample each course in a blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges in a series of 15 dinner competitions hosted in the four regions of the state. Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side-by-side in a single elimination format. Guests savor a six-course menu (three dishes from each chef without knowing whose food they’re tasting) created around a “secret” ingredient. For almost all series, the secret ingredient will come from a North Carolina source. The secret ingredient is revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking and it must be used in each of their three courses Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, will rate each dish and determine who moves to the next round and who goes home.

Contestants: Chef Chelsi Hogue, from Ed’s Southern Bar and Grill in Goldsboro will compete against Chef Ben Adams from the Piedmont, a restaurant in Durham. At stake is a grand prize of $2,500 and a coveted red chef jacket.

Location: Fire in the Triangle, takes place in Raleigh at 1705 Prime.

Secret Ingredient: Ran-Lew Cream Top Milk

Randy Lewis has started bottling cream top milk on his family’s dairy farm in Snow Camp, NC. The unhomogenized milk comes from cows kept on pasture. His milk products are outstanding. Samples of milk and chocolate milk was shared with the dinners

Topo Distillery and the North Carolina Beer Guys supplied drinks. I loved my spicy Bloody Mary again last night. While we were waiting a basket of bread supplied by La Farm Bakery was placed on our table. I was sitting next to Jennifer Noble Kelly, publicist representing La Farm Bakery and Chef Ben Adams from the Piedmont Restaurant and Amanda MacLaren from Durham Magazine.

First Course: Pan-Seared Scallop, Aromatic and Spice infused Ran-Lew Dairy Cream Top Milk Broth, Creamed Parsnip, Pinot Noir plumped Cherries, Crushed Cashews and Fried Leeks. Chef Hogue, of Ed’s Southern Bar and Grill prepared it. It received a score of 28.66.

Second Course: Anchovy, Little G Farms Bibb Lettuce Puree, Caper Berry, Marcona Almond, Crispy Parsnip, Ran-Lew Dairy Whey Cucumber Vinaigrette. Chef Adams of the Piedmont Restaurant prepared this dish. It received a score of 23.57.

Third Course: Pan-Roasted Joyce Farms Naked Chicken Breast, Chili-Fingerling Potato Shitake Mushroom Hash, Browned Johnson County Mangalitsa Ham, Ran-Lew Dairy Cream Top Milk Gravy, Smoked Tomato Butter, Basil Pesto – prepared by Chef Hogue with a score of 25.31

Fourth Course: Ran-Lew Cream Top Milk Braised Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork, Curry Scott Farm Fingerling Sweet Potatoes, Black Garlic, Herbs – prepared by Chef Adams, with a score of 24.77.

Fifth Course: Ran-Lew Cream Top Milk Ricotta, Blood Orange, Pomegranate Seed, Fennel Black Current Puree – repaired by Chef Adams with the score of 27.39.

Sixth Course: Ran-Lew Cream Top Milk and Yeast Beignet, Spiced Sugar, Apple Butter Coconut Chantilly Cream, Chocolate Milk and Honey Sauce – repared by Chef Hogue with a score of 27.08.

The winner was Chelsi Hogue from Ed’s Southern with a score of 27 with a close win against Chef Ben Adams with the score of 25.27.

I had a great time. Both Chefs out did themselves with their creations. We had a great crew at our Table 4; Jennifer Noble Kelly, Amanda McLaren, Marcus Hall and his wife, owners of The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, Mike Turner Director of Sales of Pate Dawson, Leah Carter, Chef Spencer Carter, Bo and Vanessa.

I plan on attending the battle on Feb. 2: Spencer Carter of the Weathervane Restaurant in Chapel Hill, versus Rhett Morris of Rhett’s Restaurant in Southern Pines. Chef Carter assured me that he would be preparing 3 outstanding courses.


  • Got to Be NC Products
  • Pate Dawson Southern Foods PDF Chain
  • Pepsi Bottling Ventures
  • Joyce Farms
  • Certified Angus Beef Brand
  • Libbey Food Services
  • NC Egg Farmers: North Carolina Egg Association
  • Whole Harvest Foods
  • La Farm Bakery

mary_smUntil Next Time – The Traveler