NCRLA Chef Showdown Preview: Teddy Diggs

I wanted to share an upcoming, super fun event that is finally being hosted in Charlotte (after 2 years in Raleigh): The NCRLA (North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association) Chef Showdown. In getting prepared for this inspiring event on August 27th, 2018, I had the opportunity to get to know a few of the competitors a little better. I Capturewanted to share their stories with you and a little bit of what inspires them to compete in this event. First, here is a little bit of information about the event so hopefully you can attend!

21 North Carolina chefs and 6 mixologists, representing 6 distilleries from across the state, will be there competing for the titles of NCRLA Chef of the Year, NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year, and NCRLA Mixologist of the Year.

I highly recommend that you join us by getting your tickets today. The link for reservations is at:

Not only do you get to watch these North Carolina world-class chefs, pastry chefs, and mixologists compete, but you’ll get to walk from table to table, meet the chefs, and taste everything, too. Charlotte’s very own Heidi Billotto ( will be there as co-host with Lamonte “Coach Lamonte” Odums, who is a regular co-host on WBTV’s Morning Break! Twelve of the chefs and the 6 mixologists (who have moved on to the final stage of competition) will not only be serving the crowd, but they will be presenting their dishes and cocktails to the panel of expert judges who will be scoring on technique, presentation, creativity and taste of the dishes and drinks. They will also be judged on the best use of North Carolina ingredients. Plus, you and I will get to cast our votes for our favorites as a part of the People’s Choice Award! (Yay!)

Here is a list of the competitors:

Find more information on the NCRLA Chef Showdown’s social media too: Facebook, ,Instagram or Twitter.

(note: I was provided a complimentary ticket (valued at $125) to the NCRLA Chef Showdown in exchange for this blog post, however all opinions are my own.) 


Introducing competitor:

Teddy Diggs of Coranoto’s 

Teddy_Diggs_Head Shot
– Teddy Diggs – 
When NCRLA Chef Showdown organizer and co-host Heidi Billotto first linked me to Teddy Diggs, I noticed he had the same area code as I did growing up. Quickly, we realized that not only were our high schools neighbors to one another, but we graduated only 2 years apart. Not only that, after our initial conversation, I went to yoga in Charlotte an hour later and realized that Teddy was friends with my yoga instructor when they were in high school. It was great to talk to a competing chef with whom I already had so much in common.
After many years as executive chef at Chapel Hill’s famed Il Palio, Teddy is getting ready to open his first restaurant, Coranoto’s in Chapel Hill, NC.  

Coranoto’s will be a family business that Teddy will run with his wife, Holly, and where Roman style pizza will be the focus. So why pizza and why Rome?  As a family, The Diggs make pizza with their two little girls (and this is their favorite pizza dough recipe). Rome is also a great hybrid of so many parts of Italy and other cuisines, so the toppings offered at the soon-to-be-opened Coranoto’s will be a variety of styles from all over Italy

Teddy is excited to create a community-based restaurant with an emphasis on quality of life and small changes – a direction he believes the restaurant industry needs to head. But look for Teddy to ‘break some rules’ of Italian cooking with his delicious cracker-thin pizza. He is hoping to announce Coranoto’s grand opening in May 2019. Meanwhile, he is hosting several pop-up locations and taking part in events such as the 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown.

Why is Teddy someone to watch at this year’s Showdown? You’ll see some of his straightforward, rustic, Italian cooking. The NCRLA Chef Showdown, sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture – that’s GotToBeNC – has a focus on local ingredients. Teddy is inspired by balancing local, fresh products (as they do in Rome) and his starting point for the creation of any dish is great local ingredients. In addition, Teddy and his family are vegetarians, so you never know what kind of creativity will come out!



(note: photo credit to: @ssprenzphoto.) 


Remember, one of the best parts of this event is that anyone can buy tickets and come, just see the link:  Hope to see you there!



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