Tag Archives: Curt’s Cucina

Trial By Fire: The Final Battle – Chef Ryan of Rex Health and Chef Curt of Curt’s Cucina


How 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. Semi-Final Round – both chefs had competed and won in the first round of competition.

Contestants: Chef Ryan Conklin CEC from Rex Healthcare and Chef Curt Shelvy of Curt’s Cucina.   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, E Millbrook.

Secret Ingredient #1: Certified Angus Beef Short Loin

Secret Ingredient #2: Uno Alla Volta Cheeses

First Course: 1: Uno Alla Volta Ricotta & Arugula Gnudi, Winter Vegetable Fricassee, Parmesan Brodo, Peppered Certified Angus Beef Charred Rare Tenderloin, UAV Hay-Smoked Mozzarella prepared by Chef Shelvy with a score of 28.367

Second Course: Bourbon Barrel Smoked Salt & Pepper-Horseradish Rubbed Certifed Angus Beef Strip Loin, Uno Alla Volta Hay-Smoked Mozzarella Logan Turnpike Grits, Béarnaise, Asparagus-UAV Burrata Whey Purée Fennell & UAV Ricotta Little River Crab Salad, and Tangerine prepared by Chef Conklin with a score of 25.140

Third Course: Whole Roasted Certified Angus Beef Strip Loin, Fingerling Potato Confit, Una Alla Volta Mozzarella-Shallot Fondue, Green Tomato Salsa Verde, and Natural Jus prepared by Chef Shelvy with a score of 22.148

Fourth Course: Braised Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin, Una Alla Volta Ricotta-Lusty Monk Original Sin Spätzle with Bacon & Brussels Sprouts, Pickled Onion-Perry Lowe Orchards Apple Salad, Melted Leeks,and Fried Parsnip prepared by Chef Conklin; with a score of 24.223

Fifth Course: Marcona Almond-Logan Turnpike “Polenta” Cake, Vanilla Scented Uno Alla Volta Ricotta, Chocolate Soufflé Glacé, Black Pepper Anglaise, and Pomegranate-Strawberry Compote prepared by Chef Shelvy with a score of 26.505

Sixth Course: Uno Alla Volta Ricotta-Toffee Cornmeal Upside Down Cake, UAV Ricotta Semifreddo, Meyer Lemon-Blueberry Compote, UAV Ricotta-Vanilla Bean Cannoli Cream, Pine Nut Crumble, and Balsamic-White Peach Coulis prepared by Chef Conklin; with a score of 28.546

The winner was Chef Ryan Conklin CEC of Rex Healthcare with a score of 25.975 over Chef Curt Shelvy with a score of 25.674.

Conklin took home a $2,000 cash prize, a handmade chef knife by Ironman Forge and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket” provided by ALSCO. Additionally, the Rex Healthcare team moves on to the final battle of champions in October where they will compete against the winners from each of the other North Carolina tournaments.

Additional Sponsors:

  • Hitstech
  • NC Agriculture
  • JoyceFarms
  • Pepsi
  • Certified Angus beef
  • SouthernFoods NC
  • Whole harvest