If you have ever watched the television show Iron Chef, you know that two chefs battle it out by cooking with the same required ingredient for all three different courses. Well, The North Hills Farmers Market had it’s own Iron Chef competition in Midtown Raleigh on Saturday September 28.
Mia Francesca Trattoria, one of the five Raleigh area North Hills restaurants, competed. The required announced ingredients (announced at 9 a.m.) were rabbit and green beans. The rabbit was provided by North Carolina farm – Walk Ahead Farms – who offers fresh eggs, pasture raised meats, seasonal produce, herbs, and cut flower arrangements to the Raleigh area. Using fifty dollars worth of “Midtown Farmers Market bucks,” the four chefs purchased their fare; in a timed one hour period, all five chefs prepared two dishes containing the required ingredients.
Mia Francesca Trattoria Executive Chef Zachary VanGaasbeek was reportedly being very “mysterious” in his preparation. He wanted to truly surprise the judges. The competition had an official panel of five culinary adjudicators who (in addition to tasting it for themselves) took into consideration twenty-five very lucky market patrons who each tasted the second dish and gave their opinions. Who said this was easy?
- Fred Thompson, Publisher and Food Writer for Edible Piedmont Magazine
- Kathy Hanrahan, Editor of WRAL Out and About
- Liza Roberts, Editor and Chief of Walter Magazine
- Tara Robbins, Director of Midtown Raleigh Alliance
- Travis Appt, Creative Director for Midtown Magazine
- Mia Francesca Trattoria, Executive Chef, Zachary VanGaasbeek
- Coquette Brasserie, Executive Chef, Beth Littlejohn
- The CowFish, Head Chef, Ryan Stewart
- Flights at the Renaissance, Executive Sous Chef, Anthony Zinani
- The Q-Shack, Head Chef, Rodney Lloyd
Chef Zach used the green beans to prepare a mixed green, fig, grilled eggplant, squash salad with Fig Vinaigrette. For the Rabbit he used local stone ground grits, sauteed swiss chard, tatsoi with hot chilies, and the pan grilled rabbit with a muscadine gastique.
Chef Zach won the competition for the Best Overall Dish. The crowd-pleasing entree was plated Grilled Rabbit over Grits. Even if you missed this year’s Iron Chef Competition, you can always enjoy fine dining in our authentic Italian restaurant or take advantage of our private catering services. Make sure you save room for our out-of-this-world desserts!
Chef Zach VanGaasbeek first discovered a desire for cooking at the young age of 14 while a dishwasher at a local restaurant in his home town of Kingston, N.Y. A natural curiosity to understand flavour profiles and the chemistry of food, would soon fuel a desire for a career in culinary arts.
After graduation he spent two years in the gulf coast of Florida working for a locally owned restaurant group Culinary Concepts.
He then moved on to Sonoma county, California, where he worked with private country clubs that focused exclusively on local California wines and “farm to fork” produce. It was here garnered an affinity and respect for seasonality, terroir, and the use of micro-local ingredients.
Now in Raleigh, at Mia Francesca’s Trattoria in North Hills, an authentic Italian restaurant – part of Francesca’s Restaurant Group – Chef Zach showcases that early love affair of local fresh food with the wonderful rustic foods of Northern Italy & Tuscany.
Drop by for lunch or dinner and enjoy the best that the Iron Chef Champion can offer at Mia Francesca!
**Make Mia Francesca in North Hills a part of your weekend memories, your Autumn gatherings, and your business meetings and networking events. Show us off to your favorite out-of-town guests and business associates by letting them experience the “Best in the Triangle” Northern Italian cuisine right here in North Hills, the heart of Raleigh’s Midtown.
If you like recipes, you should check out the video demonstration of our Executive Chef Zach’s making traditional Italian Biscotti!
Check out all of our Italian Food recipes!
Visit us here at http://miafrancescaraleigh.com
Mia Francesca Trattoria
Phone: (919) 278-1525