The brackets have been set for the 2014 Fire in the Triad cooking competition, held again this year in downtown Greensboro’s Empire Room from April 22 to June 2. The face-off pits Triad chefs in an “Iron Chef”-style showdown, with a selection of featured ingredients for each round.

For Triad foodies, this is better than the Final Four.

The first week’s matchups see a new face at an old favorite, Chef Tim Thompson from Jamestown’s Marisol, against newcomer Chef Matthew Culpepper from Winston-Salem’s Quiet Pint. Then my old friend Tony Stevens, who years ago helmed the Grappa Grille and is now at High Point’s Cast Iron Skillet, takes on Undercurrent’s Michael Harkenreader, who won the event in 2012.

Week Two has Chef Mark Grohman of Winston-Salem’s Meridian against my pal Chef Jody Morphis of Fincastle’s in Greensboro.

Other interesting matchups include the April 30 showdown between Chef Tim Grandinetti of Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar, a stalwart of the Winston-Salem scene, against Chef Tim Barbrey, whose Jamestown shop Perky’s Bistro is just beginning to make a name for itself.

A battle of Winston-Salem kitcheneers goes down on May 5, when Artisan Chef Kevin Reddick and Chef Donny Smith of New Town Bistro try to take each other out.

The full bracket is up at

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