Countdown to the NCRLA Chef Showdown Finale

Chef Charles Gardiner, Executive Chef at The Ballantyne Hotel, 1 of 20 state finalists

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — You know, we love our food here on Charlotte Today.

On Friday, we continued the countdown to the Grande Finale of the NCRLA Chef Showdown in Raleigh, when we were joined by Chef Charles Gardiner, Executive Chef at the Ballantyne Hotel.  Chef Charles Gardiner is one of the 20 finalists ( 7 of them from the Charlotte area) to make the cut and cook in the 2022 NCRLA Chef Showdown Grand Finale on Aug 8 in Raleigh NC.

The dish Charles prepared for the judges at the regional round of competition was his take on NC Pork Shoulder Barbeque created with a Smoked Pork Shoulder Porchetta served with Fresh Corn Hushpuppy, Cabbage Slaw Roulade, Grilled Leek, Roasted Carrot and a Lacto Tomato Jus.

Gardiner thinks it’s important to support local farmers, to prove that his plate featured ingredients from more than 20 different North Carolina farms and producers. Even the plates he presented on were made in NC.

Again, the NCRLA Chef Showdown Grande Finale is August 8th.  Viewers can come and taste the same Porchetta dish that Charles made for the judges – in fact all viewers are invited to attend the event in Raleigh at the Angus Barn Pavilion. Tickets are $125 per person and are available online at

Another fun fact: Everyone who attends the 2022 NCRLA Chef Showdown Grand Finale will get to taste 15 savory dishes, and 5 desserts from Chefs and pastry chefs across the state as well as 6 craft cocktails created by 6 NC bartenders representing 6 NC distilleries. And then, they will get to vote for their own People’s Choice favorites. Heidi Billotto says it’s going to be a wonderful evening of local food and drink.

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