RALEIGH – The N.C. State Fair loves a deep-fried treat, but there is something about homemade food that warms the soul. North Carolinians are truly talented, and the Home Chef Challenge allows chefs to show off their cooking abilities with 11 days of competitions.
This year’s competitions include slam-dunk sliders, Bella’s Birthday Bash, appetizers with spirit, banana pudding, layer cakes, cast iron chicken pot pie, make-ahead lunches, carnitas street tacos, kickin’ chicken salad, mac-n-cheese and sausage balls.
“Food is a way to bring people together,” said John Buettner, competitive exhibits director. “I cannot wait to see what the talented chefs of North Carolina cook up in our competitions this year. Recipes are judged on taste, creativity and appearance so let’s see what you’ve got, maybe you will earn the top prize of $500.”
The deadline to register for the Home Chef Challenge is Oct. 2. Each competitor is required to submit a NC Substitute W-9 form. The Home Chef Challenge will be held in the North Lobby of Dorton Arena. Contestants will receive two gate tickets and a parking pass for Lot C on Trinity Road. A free shuttle will take you to the fair and drop you off at Gate 12 or 3 which is an easy walk to Dorton Arena.
For more information, visit the 2023 Home Chef Challenge. The full list of this year’s challenges is included below.
Slam-Dunk Sliders Challenge presented by N.C. State Wolfpack Basketball
Thursday, Oct. 12, at 4 p.m.
Your protein of choice is allowed…or you can really stretch your imagination and bring us an all veggie option…portabella caprese anyone?
Bella’s Birthday Bash Challenge
Friday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m.
Your tasty treats will be judged on appearance by our two-legged judges and some local celebrity canines just might join us for the ultimate taste test.
Boozy Bites: Appetizers with Spirit Challenge presented by the Distillers Association of North Carolina
Saturday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m.
Wow us with how you incorporate some of North Carolina’s best spirits as a featured ingredient in your dish. Check out the competition guidelines for a list of 34 N.C. spirits acceptable for the challenge.
Down Home Dessert Banana Pudding Challenge presented by Ambetter Health of North Carolina
Sunday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m.
Show us what you’ve got by sticking to your tried and true favorite, or bring us something even the most novice cooks can master.
Luscious Layer Cake Challenge
Monday, Oct. 16, at 10 a.m.
Whether you like red velvet, lemon, hummingbird or any of the countless flavors you can dream up as the perfect combo, make sure you have at least three layers and one of them must be cake!
Cast Iron Chicken Pot Pie Challenge presented by Carolina Cooker
Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m.
There’s a reason chicken pot pie is a comfort food. When it’s cool inside, a fire is roaring and you’re settled in for the night…it’s the perfect complement to keep you just as toasty on the inside.
MREs in ’23: Make-Ahead Lunch Challenge presented by Wegmans
Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 10 a.m.
It’s Military Appreciation Day, and when we think of on-the-go chow, we KNOW you can do better than a standard MRE. Bring us your best!
Carnitas Street Taco Challenge presented by Smithfield Foods
Thursday, Oct. 19, at 10 a.m.
This year, we’re challenging you to bring us the heat…literally…with the Carnitas Street Taco Challenge featuring pork by Smithfield Foods!
Kickin’ Chicken Salad Challenge presented by House of Raeford Farms
Friday, Oct. 20, at 10 a.m.
It’s time to test your skills to kick it up a few notches to dream up your own version of this stalwart of southern homes.
Let’s Get Cheesy Mac-N-Cheese Challenge
Saturday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m.
Ooey, gooey and gloriously cheesy, do you have a recipe that is bubbling with creamy goodness? If you’re the family’s go-to mac-n-cheese maker, it’s time to compete for the ultimate first-place prize in the state.
Not Your Mama’s Sausage Balls Challenge presented by Nahunta Pork Center
Sunday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m.
What flavors can you come up with to take a classic and add a twist to kick up our tastebuds and create a new family favorite? Nahunta Pork Center at the State Farmers Market will provide all entrants with free sausage for this competition. Entrants can pick up their sausage Thursday through Saturday the week of the competition.
The N.C. State Fair will run Oct. 12-22 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. The fair offers an experience unique to North Carolina and is an unparalleled value with free entertainment, thrilling rides and games, thousands of animals, endless family activities, competitions, vendors and creative deep-fried delights. For more information, visit www.ncstatefair.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ncstatefair.org.