UNC Health Talk

Recipes from the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series

Congratulations to Chef Ryan Conklin and his teammates chefs Steve Pexton and Collin Jennings! They’ve won the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Triangle Series.

Try out some of the wining recipes for yourself! Here are two recipes from the winning battle against Chef Trey Cleveland of Top of the Hill. The secret ingredient was Shiitake Mushrooms.

Colcannon Potatoes By Chef Ryan Conklin
Colcannon Potatoes By Chef Ryan Conklin

Colcannon Potatoes
By Chef Ryan Conklin

‘These potatoes are what I like to call ‘Irish Soul Food.’ A style of cooking that I learned while working and living in Limerick Ireland as a young chef.’ Chef Ryan Conklin


  • 1 pound Shaved Brussels Sprouts or shredded green cabbage
  • 1 pound potatoes (peeled)
  • 1 Cup of thinly sliced scallions
  • ½ Pound of diced bacon
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted butter
  • Salt and White pepper to taste


  • Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and drain.
  • In a sauce pan, render down diced bacon until it is crisp. Remove bacon, and add Brussels sprouts or shredded cabbage and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Season and mash potatoes well. Stir in cooked Brussels sprouts, scallions and milk.
  • Mix well, adding butter, salt and white pepper.

Serves 4-6

Gorgonzola Cheesecake with Mushroom Brulee
By Chef Steve Pexton


  • 7.6 oz Graham Crackers
  • 3 oz Corn Meal
  • 1 oz Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T Dried Mushroom Powder
  • 2.6 oz Butter (melted)
  • 1 Egg White
  • 10′ Parchment Paper Circle

Mix the graham crumbs, corn meal, 10X and mushroom powder together. Add the melted butter and the egg white and mix together.

Lay the parchment circle in the spring form pan. Press crust mixture into the parchment lined spring form pan and bake in a 350* for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set on the counter to cool while preparing the batter.


  • 20 oz Cream Cheese
  • 7 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 8 oz Sugar
  • 1 oz Cornstartch
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 oz Heavy Cream

Combine the sugar and cornstarch together and beat with the cheeses in a mixer until smooth and creamy. Combine the extracts, egg and yolks and add 1 at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl and beater after each addition of egg. Repeat until all eggs are used. Add the cream last and beat until smooth.

Pour batter in the spring form pan and bake in a 250* oven until set. About an hour and a half.   To check, open the oven, pull the rack with the cheesecake on it out until it stops and tap the side of the pan. If the cheesecake giggles once, it’s ready.

Mushroom Brulee

  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 T Dried Mushroom Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cracked Pepper

Combine. Sprinkle over the cheesecake prior to serving. Caramelize with a blowtorch, as you would a crème brulee.

Makes 1 10′ Cheesecake