It’s a Three-Peat! For the third year in a row, a restaurant in the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, and Aberdeen area of North Carolina has won the Best Dish in NC award. The 2012 first place winner for the Eastern Piedmont/Coastal Region fine dining award went to Rhett’s Restaurant, Personal Chef & Catering located in Southern Pines. Visit www.rhettsinc.com for more information about Rhett’s. And what a great name for a southern-style dining establishment!
“My staff and I have worked very hard to utilize fresh, local, ingredients year round. This award brings us great pride and validation that others are recognizing these efforts and the difference it can make in the quality of food the customer receives,” according to owner/chef Rhett.
Sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Our State Magazine, the Best Dish in N.C. competition is an annual statewide contest that recognizes restaurants and chefs for using North Carolina agricultural products in their menus. The competition also promotes the culinary advantages of buying local. Restaurants may enter a single-course entrée or any combination of courses to include with the entrée such as appetizer, soup, salad or dessert.
As Rhett emphasizes, “One of the favorite parts of my job is designing our menu around the seasonal products that we can get locally grown. We work with a variety of farmers and the products they grow go directly into the food we serve. Our customers have become accustomed to asking us, “What’s fresh this week?” They know that from our fresh-juiced cocktails, to our Farmer’s Ravioli, to our featured N.C. Pork and Beef, that the food they order will taste great.”
To be eligible to compete, each dish entered must contain a primary ingredient from a N.C. producer or farm. Dishes are scored on overall use of N.C. products, creativity of the dish, taste and originality. The depth of the “buy local” connection, overall appeal and value of the entries rounded out the judging.
Competition finalists were required to feature the dishes in their restaurant for at least a four-week period anytime between May 1 and Sept. 30. Past winners in the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen area were Ashten’s in 2010 and Elliott’s in 2011. For more information, visit www.bestdishnc.com.