Raleigh residents got a taste of Asheville last night, Nov. 19, when chef Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake defeated Cape Fear Country Club’s chef Antoine Murray in the first round of Final Fire eliminations.
It’s hardly breaking news that the food industry is a male-dominated field. What’s interesting is that the tides are reportedly changing: The number of women entering culinary schools is rising steadily, more and more women are working in the industry, and a female executive chef is far from the jaw-dropping news it was 20 years ago. But even as the modifier “female” before the word “chef” becomes more annoying than warranted, it’s still the case that women are a minority in the industry and are less likely than men to fill leadership positions in the kitchen.
In a series of Fire on the Rock cooking competitions in Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina’s top culinary talents are vying for the title of the state’s best chef. A crowd of 125 foodies assembled at Biltmore Estate’s Lioncrest on Monday, March 31 to indulge in a sumptuous, six-course feast. Chef Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake Inn & Resort in Flat Rock and her team went up against Chef Sam Etheridge and his team from Ambrozia Bar & Bistro in Asheville.