Executive Chef at Greensboro’s Sedgefield Country Club leads team to runner-up finish in statewide culinary competition
(GREENSBORO, NC) — McConnell Golf’s Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro is best known for its historic Donald Ross-designed golf course that annually hosts the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship. But as the members know, the club serves up some pretty special offerings in the kitchen as well.
Sedgefield Executive Chef James R. Patterson III recently led his three-person team, the “Sedgefield Culinary Crushers,” to a runner-up finish in the annual Competition Dining Series — an interactive culinary competition held in a variety of regions across the Carolinas throughout the year.
Bringing together the chef, the farmer and the diner, the “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series is unlike any other culinary experience. Guests are able to taste course-by-course during a series of single elimination dinner competitions. On these select evenings, two teams of chefs “battle it out” side by side in a six-course blind format. Guests savor each dish created around one or more “featured” local ingredients — three courses from each chef — without knowing whose food they tasted.
A referee known as the “Chef Ref” supervised the kitchen activities during the events. Voting was done digitally by guests — called “Joes” — along with a panel of selected culinary professional judges along with the Chef Ref, called “Pros.” Joes’ criteria were based on a diner's point of view such as presentation, aroma and flavor. Pros’ criteria were based on a chef’s point of view such as balance, degree of difficulty and technique. Chef Ref's criteria were based on organization, sanitation, food prep, waste and the like.
The Sedgefield Crushers cruised through the bracket series to the finals where they came in second behind Raleigh’s “Team Mirepoix,” comprised of chefs from restaurants in Apex, Cary and Wake Forest. The championship battle took place November 20 at the beautiful Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center on the Centennial campus of N.C. State University in Raleigh.
“Congratulations to (Team Mirepoix’s) Franz Propst and his team on their championship,” said Patterson. “Since June, we’ve had the pleasure of competing against some of the finest chefs from around the state. Out of 96 chefs who competed, we made the top six and came in second. It was a pleasure to meet so many chefs along the way.”
A native of Wilmington, N.C., Patterson has been with the Raleigh-based McConnell Golf company for a decade; leading the culinary teams at Cardinal Golf & Country Club, Musgrove Mill Golf Club and most recently Sedgefield since 2014.
“JP,” as Patterson is known, is renowned for his “Down South” culinary flare and inventive twists of old southern cuisine using local ingredients.
Patterson’s Sous Chef, Isaac Spencer, a local from Ramseur with a passion for “all things southern,” joined him on the Crushers. Spencer has worked at Sedgefield for six years, first as a line and prep cook and then Sous Chef for the last two years.
The third team member was Tim Alston, originally from Crown Heights in Brooklyn, N.Y., who previously worked as a day shift line and prep cook at Sedgefield for nine years, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the club’s culinary team.
“I have been incredibly proud of our team throughout this year’s series,” said Patterson. “Isaac Spencer and Tim Alston were great teammates and friends throughout this journey.
“Whether cooking for member socials, a la carte dining, club events, weddings or even our monthly cooking classes, our (Sedgefield CC) crew is always driven to provide the best experience for the members and their guests.”
A North Carolina chef named Jimmy Crippen first developed the concept of Competition Dining nine years ago in an effort to bump up sales during the shoulder season. The fun of the competition and the good-natured innovation it invited caught on quickly.
Crippen later partnered with Pate Dawson-Southern Foods to take the concept statewide. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture came on board as the first sponsor — a perfect partnership with the Got to be NC campaign, helping expand the series’ goal to further celebrate local North Carolina products and agriculture while showcasing the culinary ingenuity and talent across the state.
Said Patterson: “Jimmy Crippen is a man of many talents and he gave us a golden opportunity for fun.”