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Dessert fare that's a reminder of days at county fair
Jamie Turner in Chef Showdown regional round
Published Friday, August 23, 2019 1:49 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Chef Jamie Turner prepares pastries Monday at the second round of the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association Chef Showdown at Central Piedmont Community College.

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Chef Jamie Turner is taking you to the fair.

The pastry chef at Earl’s Grocery and Soul Food Sessions advanced to the second round of the annual North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association Chef Showdown. On Monday at Central Piedmont Community College, she competed in the regional round. Turner invited judges to imagine a fair—county or state, even a local street fair. Her dessert featured 10 North Carolina suppliers to create and apple and Asian pear brown butter bun, filled with ginger cream pecan orange honey tuile, cider pickled apples, sweet corn ice cream, white chocolate popcorn shoot crumble and pear gastrique.  

“My favorite fair food is funnel cake,” Turner said. “Definitely didn’t want to just put funnel cake on the plate, but I think we reached that balance with the pull apart. My brown butter bun was actually a pull apart. It also had a cotton candy consistency. It was a pull apart with the same kind of reminiscent fragrances and spices that are used to make funnel cake batter really pop. Those are my two favorite desserts, so we tried to put those together.”

Different elements of the dessert allowed for a different childhood memory.

“We had the apples on top — that would be the candied apple,” Turner said. “We threw in a little pair for a little texture, and just bringing in as much local stuff. Pears are awesome right now. Apples are awesome. We got ginger golds, like the first batch, from our farmer [Lively Orchard in Flat Rock]. It was so much fun working with these amazing North Carolina products.”

Growing up in New Jersey, Turner’s favorite part of the local fair was the food.

“It was like a neighborhood fair, where they would bring in all the rides,” said Turner, who fell in love with baking with her first Easy-bake Oven at age 10. “Every year around this time, they would take over this whole block. I really was just going for the sweets. I would go on a couple rides, but I would definitely have a stomach ache by the time I left.”

Should Turner advance, she would compete in the final among 20 chefs in both the pastry and savory categories on Sept. 30 at Angus Barn’s Bay 7 in Durham for the title of NCRLA Chef and NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year, a $250 cash prize and North Carolina Department of Agriculture Ambassadorship. The final is open to the public. Attendees will be able to sample dishes from the participating chefs, as well as North Carolina beer, wine and spirits. Her goal is to enhance the culinary experience through creativity and scholarship, allowing young black girls to advance in the industry if they want to pursue the field.


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