Blue Shark Vodka took home a coveted People’s Choice Award this week at the state’s largest chef competition — the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Chef Showdown. 

The competition began in March with more than 60 competitors vying for the top awards. The 26 chefs and mixologists at the NCRLA Chef Showdown made it through five preliminary rounds and four semi-final rounds of competition across the state.

They competed in front of a panel of industry experts and were judged based on the presentation and taste of the dish, as well as the best use and number of local North Carolina ingredients on each plate.

Brian Platt of Flying Machine Taproom and Kitchen represented Blue Shark Vodka by creating a specialty cocktail that wowed hundreds of attendees at The Angus Barn in Raleigh. Attendees at the finale were treated to tasting-sized portions of the best savory dishes, desserts, and cocktails. They also voted for their favorites to determine the Performance Foodservice People’s Choice award winners for Chef, Pastry Chef, and Mixologist.

Platt’s stellar cocktail, The Flight Path, paid homage to the First in Flight state with all state-sourced ingredients. The drink featured Blue Shark Vodka infused with honeycomb-washed bee pollen; honey basil syrup, watermelon, prickly pear, key lime citrus, pecan habanero bitters and citrus sea salt. (Check out Flying Machine Brewery’s Wrightsville Beach location to try this award-winning cocktail for a limited time!)

The Flight Path cocktail from Flying Machine Taproom, created using Blue Shark Vodka
The Flight Path – Winning Cocktail

“We are always humbled by the support and excitement around the taste of our vodka, but gathering with all the top chefs, pastry chefs and mixologists around our home state was a special moment we will never forget,” said Blue Shark Vodka founder Mark Bloomquist. “Brian’s cocktail was an incredible tribute to Blue Shark Vodka and to the great ingredients North Carolina has to offer.”

Visit the NCRLA to learn more about the other winners around the state and the competition. 

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