Cary, NC – In November, chefs from around the state will be competing to see who is the best. One of those competitors is Cary’s own Ryan Summers, fresh off of his victory in the Raleigh Dining Competition.
In July, Summers of Cary’s Chef’s Palette Restaurant and Bar was part of the winning team for the Raleigh region of the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series, which promotes local food throughout North Carolina. And in the intervening months, Summers said victory has felt good.
“Life’s going in the right direction. I’m seeing a big influx of people into the restaurant, both new and old,” Summers said.
While Summers said the increased attendance could be seasonal, he said people have come in and talked to him specifically about the competition.
“We’ve had people come out and recognize me. Some chefs from the competition have also come out to see me,” Summers said. “I’m a humble guy and I like to come out to tables but I don’t like to talk about myself, but having all these eyes on me feels good.”
Now that Summers won the regional competition, he will move onto the Battle of Champions where the regional champions from around the state will go at it to find out who is number one.
Summers won as part of Team Mirepoix with team leader Franz Propst from Peak City Grill and Bar in Apex, whom Summers used to work for, and pastry chef Tom Halik from Main Street Grille Café and Bakery in Wake Forest. During the competition, Summers got to have breakfast with other chefs in the morning and talk about food and their restaurants.
“This competition shows how many talented chefs there are around the state and all the different styles that are out there,” he said. “I love this competition and I hope to be a part of this for years to come.”
Put On Your Game Face
July’s competition was the first time Summers had ever competed in a cooking competition. Now, in preparation for the Battle of Champions, Summers said he is practicing new techniques that he hadn’t played with before.
“I’m trying to get my pasta skills up,” he said, adding that he is working on a special ravioli dish. “It’s something new to add to my repertoire.”
And with the competition going forward, Summers said Propst has been checking in on their competition.
“Frantz went to Wilmington to steak out the competition and see what the crowd there liked,” he said. “And we’ve all come together to plan and strategize.”
But Summers said he thinks their stiffest competition will be their first round opponents: Charlotte’s regional champions, the Radical Range Riders.
“I looked at the final scores for all the teams in the competition and the two highest were us and them,” he said.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Michael Papich and the Dorothy and Ray Park Alumni Center.