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Chefs’ Showcase: a Kick-Off Event

February 1 @ 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm


The Chefs’ Showcase is now officially part of the 2020 Wilmington Encore Restaurant Week! Wilmington Encore Restaurant Week

The Chefs’ Showcase was a new event to the Festival in 2018. This afternoon culinary adventure is a seated, 5-course meal with fine wine pairings, light entertainment, high-end silent auction items, and a luxury vacation raffle. Notable chefs from our region (and beyond!) work together to prepare the dishes…they always cook up something exciting!

2020 Chef’s Showcase

The 2020 Chefs’ Showcase will take place on Saturday, February 1, 2020 from 1-4:30 pm.

2020 Chef Line Up & Menu

Chef Don Drake of Magnolias and Blossom in Charleston, SC

*Down South Egg Rolls with Red Pepper Sauce, Spicy Mustard, and Peach Chutney

Chef Andres Kaifer of Vidrio, Raleigh, NC

*Scallop Tartare with butternut squash espuma, puffed sorghum, preserved chili oil

Chef Matthew Register of Southern Smoke in Garland, NC

*“Heritage Farms” smoked pork belly with Stir Fried collards and Tomato chow chow

Chef Nathan C. Sims of the Hotel Ballast in Wilmington, NC

*Kataifi Wrapped Halibut with Pea flower Sauce, Saffron parsnip puree, Haricot Vert

Pastry Chef Jamie Turner of The Asbury in Charlotte, NC

*Ginger-Pickled Apple Panna Cotta with a Hibiscus Mirror, Passion Fruit Coulis, Molasses Shortbread, White Chocolate Crumb

2020 Tickets and Table Sponsorship

Tickets to the Chefs’ Showcase are $75 plus taxes and fees.

Purchase Tickets Here

Table Sponsorship is only available through the Azalea Festival Ticket Office. 910-794-4650 or info@ncazaleafestival.org.
Table Sponsorship includes:
*8 Tickets to the Chefs’ Showcase at a designated table
*Entry for the 8 table guests to the private sponsor Meet and Greet with the Chefs (1 hour before event start time)
*2 Airlie Luncheon Garden Party tickets for the Table Host
Table Sponsorships are $1,000.

RSVP on FaceBook

*2020 Vacation Raffle*

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Win a trip to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands for two with a $100 raffle ticket at our Chefs’ Showcase

We are only selling 100 tickets to this raffle and you do not need to be present to win.  We are currently taking raffle ticket orders at our office or over the phone.  Call 910-794-4650 to buy your ticket today!

Raffle Tickets are $100 each.

Trip Value: $3,800

Trip Includes:

  • 5 days/4 nights accommodations for two at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in an ocean view room with balcony.
  • Daily breakfast and lunch
  • Dinner, up to 4 courses a la carte.  Lobster available nightly.
  • Unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.  Many premium brands included.
  • Complimentary bottle of rum and chocolates upon arrival in room.
  • Complimentary use of kayaks, Hobie Cat sail boats, water hammocks, stand-up paddle boards, wind surfers, snorkel equipment, swim mats, beach chairs.
  • (1) swim with the turtles half-day snorkel trip per person.
  • Live entertainment.
  • Complimentary WiFi in room and property wide.
  • All gratuities.
  • Government room tax, resort fee and energy surcharge.
  • Free concierge reservation service.

Travel package is non-refundable and subject to availability. Certificates/gift cards cannot be replaced. Passport required for travel outside the U.S.  Resort blackout dates:  December 23-31.  A minimum 30 day advance reservation is required.  Travel is valid for 12 months from date of issue.

Cancellation Policy:  Any cancellation less than 21 days prior to arrival will be subject to forfeiture of reservations and funds.

Chef Bios 

Donald Drake Culinary Arts Director  – Magnolias / Charleston, SC

Donald Drake joined Magnolias as a sous chef in 1991 and he continues to be the forces who keeps Magnolias at the top of the nation’s list for exceptional Southern food.

Prior to relocating to Charleston, Drake simultaneously attended the Culinary Institute of America and trained under Chef Barry Wine at the critically acclaimed, four-star Quilted Giraffe in New York City. With a passion for traveling, Drake embarked on a culinary world tour after receiving his degree. While working as a chef and partner for Caps on the Water in South Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Drake won back-to-back Florida Trends Golden Spoon Awards.

He later sold the restaurant to continue his culinary travels and immersed himself in global cooking techniques, spending a majority of his time in London, Australia and Hawaii. Notably, Drake worked in Honolulu’s celebrated Roy’s, mastering his culinary skills under famed Chef Roy Yamaguchi. He also apprenticed under French-Canadian chef Serge Dansereau while working as the chef de partie at Kables Restaurant in Sydney, Australia.

In 1991, Drake and his wife, Martha, relocated to Isle of Palms, S.C. with their sons Marshall and Travis, and he began his career with Magnolias. Integrating his international culinary background into Magnolias’ distinctive Southern meals, Drake prepares dishes with worldly flavors that remain true to the history and culture of their Lowcountry beginnings.

A love of travel and adventure lead Drake to his career in the kitchen, but also influences his free time. He enjoys on- and off-road racing, surfing, fishing, and restoring vintage automobiles.

Andres Kaifer Executive Chef  – Vidrio / Raleigh, NC

Andres originates from Miami and recently relocated to Raleigh, NC due to the strong agriculture in the area.  After having worked in Miami for many years he had a desire to be closer to superior product, and easier accessibility to incredible ingredients for use in his recipes.

Andres started his culinary career at a young age, attending the Culinary Institute of America right after graduating high school. Upon graduating, he made it a goal to work in some of the best kitchens in Miami.  He worked for Goldman Properties, and opened their new concept, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, which provided an immersive dining experience, featuring Latin-inspired global cuisine in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. Following that opening, he worked at Area 31, and then Beaker & Gray in Wynwood.

Andres is the Executive Chef of Vidrio, a Mediterranean-inspired and chef driven, restaurant in Raleigh, NC. Part of the family of concepts of LM Restaurants. The restaurant focuses on seasonal and local ingredients, shared plates, and ensuring the vibrancy of Mediterranean culture is captivated in each dish. He leads the menu ideation, sourcing of ingredients both locally and imported specialties, as well as bringing creativity and uniqueness to their private events menu.

His approach to cooking involves utilizing ingredients within close proximity to where he resides, ensuring the absolute freshness in his dishes. “Sourcing locally makes the world of a difference. My job becomes easy when the product I am working with is amazing.”  Sourcing is half the battle.  Aside from that he likes to keep his recipes simple and not overcomplicate a dish.  Let the ingredients speak for themselves, and properly execute the cooking to showcase their individual flavors.

Chef Matthew Register – Southern Smoke BBQ / Garland, NC

Chef Matthew Register and his wife Jessica opened SOUTHERN SMOKE BBQ in 2014 in Garland, North Carolina, carrying on a family tradition of smoking pork the old fashioned way – low and slow over an oak wood fire in their custom designed smoker, “Jezebel.” Food & Wine and The Today Show sang the praises of SOUTHERN SMOKE BBQ and Mens Journal named it one of the “Top 25 Best Road Trip BBQ Restaurants in the US.” SOUTHERN SMOKE BBQ has recently been featured in Our State, and was recognized among the “Top 5 Best BBQ Places in NC” by USA Today and “Best Ribs in NC” by Food Network.

Register is equally well known for his seasonal, southern sides, elaborate feasts offered through his sister company SOUTH CATERING, his SOUTH SUPPER SERIES and the SOUTHERN SMOKE BBQ FOOD TRUCK. In May 2019, Register debuted his first cookbook – Southern Smoke: Barbecue, Traditions, and Treasured Recipes Reimagined for Today – sharing his barbecue, sides and deep-rooted food traditions celebrated throughout the South. Southern Living, Garden & Gun and The Local Palate recommended it upon release!

Follow Chef Matthew Register on social media:

Twitter @SouthernSmokeNC …Instagram @SouthernSmokeBBQofNC and @southcateringnc …Facebook Southern Smoke BBQ of NC and South Catering www.SouthernSmokeBBQNC.com www.southcateringnc.com

Chef Nathan C. Sims – Hotel Ballast / Wilmington, NC

I am Chef Nathan Sims, I have been in the kitchen for the last 24 years.  I am an Honors graduate of The School of Culinary Arts in Houston. I started off as a steward and worked my way to the Executive Chef role. I have been a bit of a journeyman in my career. I was raised in Southeast Texas, a lot of my style in cooking stays true to my upbringing. I lean on big, bold, spicy, smokey flavors with a twist of Cajun and TEX-MEX and a love for seafood runs in my blood. I have been primarily in country clubs and resorts. I was in Buffalo, Austin, Houston, Greenville SC, and S.E. North Carolina. I received my first Executive Chef position at The Commerce Club in Greenville SC, where I was there for 6 years. I came to this area to fulfill the Executive Chef’s position at The Bald Head Island Club a few years back. I also worked at The St. James Club in Southport. My most influential Chef I worked for was Chef Kraig Thome in Houston. He gave me my first management role as Executive Sous Chef for The University Club of Houston.  It was a two-year training program for ClubCorp. He taught me how to respect the ingredients we where using. He never let me fall short of perfection on everything we did.  The aspect I love most about the kitchen is that no one-day is ever the same, and the crew that works beside me day in and day out.

When I am not wearing an apron and knife in hand, I get to go home to the most amazing woman, my wife Shannon and our two 12 year old boys, Phoenix and Brayden who keep us pretty busy.  Most of our time is spent on our back patio talking about our future dreams.

Pastry Chef Jamie Turner – The Asbury / Charlotte, NC

NCRLA Pastry Chef of The Year Jamie Turner has been making cakes since the age of 10 years old in her home town of Linden, New Jersey. She followed her passion all the way to Johnson & Wales in Providence Rhode Island directly after high school.

Living in Charlotte for the past ten years, Jamie has worked and managed in all aspects of the pastry industry.  Currently Pastry chef at , Jamie has a variety of pastry related side projects.

For the past 3 years Jamie has been a founding member and pastry chef for a collective nonprofit dinner series called Soul Food Sessions CLT.  Soul Food Sessions CLT is a group of African-American chefs and mixologists that presents pop up dinners in different locations around charlotte.  All the proceeds go toward non-profit charities here in Charlotte to help uplift minorities.  Soul Food Sessions completed a Four city tour sponsored by Coca-Cola Consolidated earning this group national recognition as well as giving a still growing amount to the scholarship fund helping minorities seeking a culinary education.  Soul Food Sessions has also been a featured chef group at the historical James Beard House in New York City.

Jamie’s Cakes & Classes, her personal business venture, is local cake and pastry business providing personalized cakes for all occasions as well as in-home private or group classes, parties, and online courses.



Check out all the fun from the 2019 Chefs’ Showcase here:

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Hotel Ballast
301 N Water St
Wilmington, NC 28401 United States