Burgaw N.C.- The competition is set! Two dozen people, some from far away as Canada, Michigan, Ohio, New York and New Jersey, California will gather in Burgaw next month for a chance to own their own restaurant in Burgaw North Carolina.
We told you about the Own Your Own Million Dollar Nationwide Restaurant Challenge in December.
The competition is the brain child of businessman Richard Johnson. Johnson is the founder of hotjobs.com. He sold that website to Yahoo 20 years ago for a reported $400 million. In 2019 he visited Burgaw for the first time and fell in love with the town, buying virtually all of the buildings in the downtown area. One of those properties, at 106-108 W. Courthouse Ave, will soon house a restaurant that is operated by the winner of the competition
A total of 24 finalists will take part in the competition. They will face off in a Town Square Cook-off on Saturday, Oct. 21, in conjunction with Burgaw’s first Autumn Fest. Each applicant will have a pop-up kitchen where they will prepare a sample-size dish of their choosing. The cook-off will be judged by 200 Burgaw residents and a panel of award-winning judges.
The cook-off will whittle the field of finalists down to 12. They then have to submit business plans which will be reviewed with eight chefs be chosen to work at local restaurants. Then at the end of the month, two finalists will have a list of local, seasonal ingredients to prepare a three-course meal to the judges, OYO team and 50 The winner will be crowned at the end of the evening on Sunday October 29th and given the prizes.
Here is the list of finalists. Their bios can be found on the OYO website.
- Pilar Beasley, Charlotte, NC
- Nathaniel Blanford, Cincinnati, OH
- Shawn Buskirk, Holly Ridge, NC
- Christopher Carlo, Waterford, MI
- Mandy Chow, Wilmington, NC
- Matthew Cole, Winterville, NC
- Charmaine Lizette Eclarin Devine, Wilmington, NC
- Zachary Fabian, Jersey City, NJ
- Joe Friday, Toronto, ON Canada
- Christopher Gates, Wilmington, NC
- Penny Hayes, Myrtle Beach, SC
- Brandon Hunsaker, Escondido, CA
- Khristen Hunter, Wilmington, NC
- Zinyusile Khumbula, New York, NY
- John Knox, Maple Hill, NC
- Vincent Mangual, Brooklyn, NY
- B. Lucas McLawhorn, Wilmington, NC
- Katharine Myhand, Rocky Point, NC
- Karoline Schwartz, Tabernash, CO
- Allan Tijerino, Morristown, TN
- Peggy Walker, Fayetteville, NC
- Julia Warren, Whiteville, NC
- Bart Weber, Hickory, NC
- Oscar Zeno, Wilmington, NC