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ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Proving that a supermarket operator can compete on par with restaurants, Earth Fare Market and Café here is the winner of the 2007 "Best Dish in North Carolina" annual competition, sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and its "Goodness Grows in North Carolina" program.
The competition was created to recognize and reward the efforts of restaurants and chefs who use North Carolina products regularly in their menus.
The dish that won Earth Fare this award was Carolina Chicken Roulade with Sweet Potato Salad & Sesame Kale, made with local ingredient, from Pine Knot Farms, Hurdle Mills, N.C.; Alison’s Family Farms, Troy, N.C.; The Goat Lady, Climax, N.C.; Latta Farms, Hillsborough, N.C.; Black River Organic Farm, Ivanhoe, N.C.; Timberwood Organics, Efland, N.C.; and Sunburst Tomatoes, Nashville.
Mitch Orland, Earth Fare's food service director and executive chef, created the recipes for the award-winning dish with the assistance of Stewart Moore, food service specialist. "The inspiration for this dish is traditional Southern, but with a haute cuisine twist," said Orland in a statement. "It was crafted to add creative flavor to fresh, local ingredients and allow them be the true standouts of the dish."
Earth Fare Market and Café competed against several larger chain restaurants across the state for the title of Best Dish in North Carolina. Entries were judged based on the featured dishes' use of North Carolina products and ingredients, creativity, feature and promotion of the dishes, presentation, and, of course, taste.
"Given that we were the only supermarket retailer in the competition, it's a huge honor to compete and win against larger, chain restaurants," noted Orland.
The Best Dish in North Carolina award will be presented Oct. 17 during "The Paula Deen Show" in Dorton Arena at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. Representatives from Earth Fare will be present to serve up samples of the "best dish" and accept this year's award.