NCRLA 2021 competitors for Chef Showdown include chef from New Bern

Antonio Campolio

The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) announced the fifth annual NCRLA Chef Showdown, North Carolina’s premiere culinary and mixology competition of the year.

Among the competitors will be Antonio Campolio with Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern.

This annual competition is designed to promote and spotlight the talent of chefs, pastry chefs, and mixologists across North Carolina.

Presented by Got To Be NC Agriculture, the Chef Showdown features competitors who will use North Carolina ingredients in their creations.

“Chef Showdown is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the incredible talent of the North Carolina hospitality industry,” said Lynn Minges, President & CEO of NCRLA. “We are excited to once again celebrate the creativity and innovation of our remarkable chefs and mixologists across the state,” she added.

The preliminary rounds of competition will feature 48 chefs and pastry chefs from across the state who have been selected to cook their way through the first step on the road to the 2021 win for the coveted titles of NCRLA Chef of the Year and NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year to be awarded at the competition’s Grand Finale on August 9, 2021, at Bay 7 in Durham, NC.

The preliminary rounds of the 2021 NCRLA Chef Showdown series are for chefs and judges only and are not open to the public. The preliminary rounds are scheduled as follows:

April 26 – Carteret Community College │ Morehead City
May 17 – Central Piedmont Community College │ Charlotte
June 7 – Bobby Boy Bake Shop │ Winston-Salem
June 14 – Wake Tech Baking & Pastry Arts │ Raleigh

Preliminary judges’ scores narrow the field of competitors to 20 chefs who will cook for the win in one of two semi-final regional rounds of competition to be held in July. The same 20 chefs move on to cook for the public and a chance at People’s Choice honors at the Aug 9, 2021, Grand Finale in Durham, NC.

Tickets for the August 9 NCRLA Chef Showdown Grand Finale go on sale June 21, 2021.

The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) serves to advance and protect the interests of more than 20,000 businesses that employ 11 percent of the state’s workforce and generate more than $27.3 billion in sales annually. To learn more information about NCRLA or its membership opportunities and cost-saving benefits, please visit