Chopped All Stars

Catching Up With Penny Davidi

Penny DavidiWhen Food Network Star season 7 premiered last year finalist Penny Davidi quickly made herself the villain.  A few snide remarks about other cast members in the opening interviews of episode one had established Penny as the cast member you love to hate.

It was a role that the smart, single mother understood could make her name hard to forget.  In this age of reality celebrity-ism that is important for surviving the worst economy in the last 70 years.  Like the old adage says, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.  But being the bad guy is not a role for sissies.

Having gotten to know a number of last year’s cast fairly well I can tell you that they do not feel the same way about the Middle Eastern Mama as much of the viewing public.  Just last month I talked with Vic “Vegas” Moea and he had this to say about her, “Penny – she’s good people, man.  She really is a good person.  She just played the heel.  That’s OK because at the end of the day when she goes home with her family she’s a loving mother, she’s a caring friend.”

Folks, you cannot ask more from a person than that.  It’s easy to pick out Penny or Debbie Lee or Brianna Jenkins or any other FNS villains and say they are a bad person but they’re not really, not in the grand scheme of things.  Osama bin Laden was a bad person.  Adolph Hilter, Harvey Updyke, David Berkowitz, Andrew Jackson, Elizabeth Bathory – all bad people.  Penny is just a woman who went on a reality cooking show and made a name for herself.  Lighten up, people.

Is she competitive?  Yes.  Is she focused?  You bet.  Is she evil?  Hardly.

As I watched the Chopped All Stars finale the other night I kept an eye on the #Chopped hashtag on Twitter.  Tweets were flying faster than I could process and I couldn’t help but notice all of the “Anyone but Penny” comments.  Folks, do you realize they were playing for charity?  Had Penny won, $50,000 would have gone to help women and children who are homeless, victims of abuse and neglect.  How can you root against that and have the audacity to say someone else is a bad person?

Think about this.  In two hours of television Penny did more for Gramercy Housing Group than most of us will do for any charity in our entire lives.  So I ask you, who again is the villain?

On the heels of her appearance on Chopped All Stars I chatted with Penny about the changes and challenges in her life since her Food Network debut last spring.

You’ve been a busy lady of late.  What are you working on?

I’m opening up a restaurant in LA called the Spice Bar and Market.  It’s going to be about bringing ethnic doable food mainstream.  I’m rolling out with a 70,000 square foot food destination in which I’m collaborating with some major chefs and big companies to make that happen.  At the same time I’m working on a line of products to go on QVC.  I’m also working on my line of seasonings, sauces and spices.

I should have a book and a book tour in July of 2013.  I’m really excited about how it looks and how it’s coming together.  It’s fun; it’s edgy, my sarcasm, my sense of humor.  It’s Penny in a book.

When I last spoke with Vic, he mentioned that after shooting FNS for 12 weeks that the four of you showed up on the Chopped set feeling no pressure.  Was the finale as stress-free?

Oh my God.  The pressure was intense.  I knew that I would never get past Marcus Samuelsson.  I almost wish I had gone home round one because I hate that people are like you know if Michael Symon had gotten the okra on the plate you’d have been the first to go home.  And I just said What makes you think Jeffrey Saad’s noodle dish would have passed me?  It doesn’t matter.

And on Twitter. . . some woman yesterday was like, “You suck you F’n B!”  She went crazy right?  What a potty mouth.  Then I look at her profile and she’s a photographer nearby in Monterrey.  I looked at her company web site and I thought this looks kind of interesting.

I called her, Stuart.  I called her on the phone; she nearly had a coronary.  Later she Tweeted Here I am bad mouthing Penny and she calls me to ask me if I would consider doing the photography at her wedding.  She’s actually really nice.

A thousand people commented on the (Food Network) blog and 900 of them were saying “down with Penny.”  That’s valuable to them, Stuart.  People want to watch and people want to watch other people take me down.

Bobby Flay told my agent, “You can’t not sign Penny.  In fact, I want to handle Penny.  Food Network needs to maximize her potential and don’t you dare stick her in a studio.  Let’s stick her out in the field.  She’s an Anthony Bourdain.  Use that.”

Anthony can go off on any chef he wants and people love him for it.  He chewed Paula Deen’s . . .  People loved him.  He’s the man.  He’s powerful.

I could see myself judging.  Like Iron Chef or something.  Be the Simon Cowell of Food Network.  I could also see something like Throwdown with Penny.  That’s something my agent was talking to Bobby about.  He suggested Bobby hang up his hat on that because Penny is now the most hated person on Food Network.

I think if I did Throwdown with Penny people would love it.  They’d watch to see me lose.  All my haters would tune in.

Have there been any talks with Food Network about your own show?

They keep wanting to use me for their ratings but not give me a proper show.  They wanted to use me for another docu-series covering my life, like I’m the Cruella de Vil of Food Network.

I said no, give me a cooking show.

I have big things happening but I can’t talk about it right now.  I so want to talk about it but I can’t.  It’s ridiculous how big it is.  Bravo loves Penny; that’s all I’m going to say to you.

Even though you didn’t win Chopped All Stars did the attention help Gramercy Housing Group?

Absolutely.  Especially after the first episode.  It’s for charity.  That’s what’s important.  That’s why I continue to do things in the charity realm.  I sit on the board for Gramercy and do all kinds of events for them.  I’m happy for them and that we brought some attention to the charity.

I have a platform that I want to use and it’s in culinary; it’s in lifestyle.  That’s the direction I want to go.  You know I am the mother of five kids now and my biggest joy is in the kitchen preparing meals for them.  That’s where my joy lies now.

FOOD NETWORK MAY 2012 HIGHLIGHTS

MAY HEATS UP WITH THE SEASON FINALE OF CHOPPED ALL-STARS AND THE SEASON PREMIERE OF FOOD NETWORK STAR
Plus: Two Series Premieres, a Five-Part Special Series and Two Themed Weekends

NEW YORK – April 17, 2012 – Food Network fires up May with season eight of Food Network Star, two series premieres, two special themed weekends, and the season finale of Chopped All-Stars. The four previous Chopped All-Stars battle winners end the season with a bang as they compete to win a $50,000 cash prize for their charity on Sunday, May 6th at 9pm. Primetime programming gets a back-to-back boost the following Sunday, May 13th with the premiere of Cupcake Champions at 8pm when four previous Cupcake Wars winners battle for a chance to present their cupcakes at a star-studded party and a sweet $50,000 cash prize. Then, at 9pm, in Food Network Star’s much-anticipated two-hour season premiere, celebrity chefs Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, and Alton Brown kick off the eighth season with high-pressure challenges and fierce competition among a fresh batch of talented hopefuls. Also joining the primetime lineup, Invention Hunters premieres on Monday, May 14th at 9pm, following Steve Greenberg and Patrick Raymond on their quest for the next great food invention, and on Friday, May 25th at 10pm, Mystery Diners goes undercover in bars and restaurants to catch employees slacking on the job. Food Network gets in the summer spirit with Grilling Week from Sunday, May 27th to Saturday, June 2nd, and things get festive with the special Cinco De Mayo themed weekend on Saturday, May 5th and Sunday, May 6th, followed by the Mother’s Day weekend on Saturday, May 12th and Sunday, May 13th. Join the Food Network conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

SEASON PREMIERE
fns8 castFood Network Star
Food Network’s long-running hit primetime series returns to New York City with fifteen talented hopefuls and completely new twists for season eight – this year, returning stars Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis move from behind the judge’s table to square off with culinary favorite Alton Brown for a three-way team competition to find the next Food Network Star. The three “Star” mentors each hand-select a team of five finalists, who they will produce and counsel through the ‘Star’ experience to find one winner who possesses personality and kitchen chops.

Premiering Sunday, May 13th at 9pm – “Impossible Beginnings” – SEASON PREMIERE!
In the much-anticipated two-hour season premiere, fifteen hopefuls arrive in the Food Network Star kitchens to meet their mentors, Bobby Flay, Alton Brown and Giada De Laurentiis. The mentors gather their teams of five before they face their very first challenge. Special guest Robert Irvine (Restaurant: Impossible) explains they must create their own pop-up restaurant from the ground up—with an extremely limited budget and very little time. Robert also throws the contestants a curve ball by revealing they must perform a live presentation to drive customers to their restaurant.

Premiering Sunday, May 20th at 9pm – “NYC on the Go”
The finalists hit the streets of New York in this 90-minute episode to conduct local food tours aboard a state-of-the-art tour bus, where they are challenged to take a busload of tourists on a culinary tour of an iconic New York neighborhood. They will be judged on how entertaining they are, what landmarks they highlight and how much food knowledge they impart. During the food tours, each finalist must prepare and serve a dish based on their exploration of the neighborhood.

Premiering Sunday, May 27th at 9pm – “Dessert Chopping Block”
The pressure is on as the 13 remaining finalists arrive in the Food Network Star kitchen to meet Chopped judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Scott Conant, and Marc Murphy. In the Star Challenge, each team must use a mysterious basket of ingredients including a Hershey’s sweet treat to create their best concoction in a head-to-head, inter-team battle for the winning dessert – Chopped style!
FEATURED FINALE

Chopped All-Stars
Premiering Sunday, May 6th at 9pm – “Grand Finale” – SEASON FINALE!
In the can’t-miss Chopped All-Stars grand finale, the four winners of the previous battles compete for a $50,000 grand prize for charity. The final rounds will test their creativity, skill and determination to see which chef can take the Chopped kitchen pressure. The first round, with beef heart in the appetizer basket, leaves the judges with an excruciatingly difficult decision. Then, it is anyone’s game in the entrée round when the chefs create a dish with fish and greens. Panforte and pancetta take center stage in the finalists’ desserts, and in the end, the judges must choose just one winner of the $50,000 grand prize.

FEATURED SERIES

Cupcake Champions
The crème de la crème of the cupcake world return for the sweetest competition yet in this five-part special series.  Each week, four previous Cupcake Wars winners face off in three tasty elimination challenges until one decorator remains and wins the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at the winning gig. The competition for the coveted title of Cupcake Champion and a $50,000 cash prize culminates in a finale, where the four bakers pull out all the stops to impress judges Candace Nelson and Florian Bellanger.
Premiering Sunday, May 13th at 8pm –“Spider-Man”
Kicking off the Champions series, our first four returning bakers compete against each other for the chance to serve their super hero cupcakes at a VIP Broadway party for Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.
Premiering Sunday, May 20th at 8pm – “Madagascar 3”
Four former champions are going Hollywood as they compete against each other for the chance to have their cupcakes featured at a special VIP party for new movie Madagascar 3.
Premiering Sunday, May 27th at 8pm – “Glee”
Our bakers will have to be in perfect pitch if they want to win the chance to serve their champion cupcakes at a cast and crew party for one of the most popular shows on TV, Fox’s Glee.

SERIES PREMIERES

Invention Hunters
Premiering Monday, May 14th at 9pm
Steve Greenberg and Patrick Raymond are two “invention hunters”, scouring high and low across America in search of the next great kitchen invention. In each episode, they come across three home inventors who each believe they have a million-dollar food invention. Steve and Patrick will choose one winning invention and strive to make that idea into reality.

Mystery Diners
Premiering Friday, May 25th at 10pm
When a restaurant owner suspects employees of not doing their jobs – whether it be stealing, lying, mistreating customers or generally doing lousy work – they call in the Mystery Diners. These Mystery Diners are undercover operatives who go into restaurants, bars and food service establishments with hidden cameras and perform surveillance to find out what’s really going on when the boss isn’t around.

FOOD NETWORK SPECIAL

Casting Food Network Star
Premiering Saturday, May 12th at 9pm
In this casting special, viewers get a glance into the ‘Star’ finalist selection process as Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, and Alton Brown choose their five hopefuls to mentor in season eight of Food Network Star, kicking off Sunday, May 13th at 9pm.

ON-AIR THEME WEEKENDS
Grilling Week (Sunday, May 27th – Saturday, June 2nd)
Premiere episodes include:
Iron Chef America: Premieres Sunday, May 27th at 10pm – “Morimoto vs. Forgione”
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Premieres Monday, May 28th at 10pm – “BBQ Road Show”
Chopped: Premieres Tuesday, May 29th at 10pm – “Grilltastic!”
Restaurant Impossible: Premieres Wednesday, May 30th at 10pm – “Pollard’s Bar-B-Que”
Iron Chef America: Premieres Saturday, June 2nd at 10pm – “Military Grill Battle”

Cinco De Mayo (Saturday, May 5th from 7am-12pm and Sunday, May 6th from 7am-12:30pm)
Premiere episodes include:
30 Minute Meals: Premieres Saturday, May 5th at 8:30am – “Can’t Miss Mexican”
Mexican Made Easy: Premieres Saturday, May 5th at 9am – “Cinco De Mayo”
Giada at Home: Premieres Saturday, May 5th at 11:30am – “Book Club: Chapter 2”
Rachael’s Week in a Day: Premieres Sunday, May 6th at 9am – “Border Bonanza”
Guy’s Big Bite: Premieres Sunday, May 6th at 10:30am – “Guy Says Tamale”
Sandwich King: Premieres Sunday, May 6th at 11am – “Is that a Sandwich in Your Pocket?”
Best Thing I Ever Made: Premieres Sunday, May 6th at 11:30am – “Bring the Heat”

Mother’s Day (Saturday, May 12th from 7am-12pm and Sunday, May 13th from 7am-12:30pm)
Premiere episodes include:
Mexican Made Easy: Premieres Saturday, May 12th at 9am – “Mother’s Day”
Paula’s Best Dishes: Premieres Saturday, May 12th at 10am – “Southern Staples”
Trisha’s Southern Kitchen: Premieres Saturday, May 12th at 10:30am – “Gwen’s Girls”
Giada at Home: Premieres Saturday, May 12th at 11:30am – “Nonna Luna’s Recipe Diary: Chapter 2”
Guy’s Big Bite: Premieres Sunday, May 13th at 10:30am – “Brie-ng On the Pork”
Sandwich King: Premieres Sunday, May 13th at 11am – “Date Night Delights”
Best Thing I Ever Made: Premieres Sunday, May 13th at 11:30am – “Family Dinners”

NEW EPISODES
Chopped
Premiering Tuesday, May 1st at 10pm – “Yuzu Never Know”
The chefs face a puzzling challenge in the first round as they experiment with yuzu juice and sturgeon. Then, one chef’s recollection of what he did with a mystery ingredient comes into question. In the second round, something orange and something green color the chefs’ choices. The competition heats up even more in the final round when the two remaining chefs find a spicy surprise in the dessert basket.
Premiering Tuesday, May 8th at 10pm – “Reversal of Fortune”
The chefs struggle to make elegant dishes with green goddess salad dressing in the first round, but they successfully impress the judges with their innovative dishes using fortune cookies and branzino. Two finalists then go full steam ahead into the last round, but when the chefs realize they are making the exact same dessert, using sourdough bread, will either competitor change course?
Premiering Tuesday, May 29h at 10pm – “Grilltastic”
It’s a grilling spectacular as four pros set out to show how good cooking over extreme heat in a short period of time can be, but what will these meat-loving competitors do with an unwelcome surprise in the appetizer basket? In the entrée round, the judges hope that the chefs are able to coax some big flavors out of some dream ingredients, including wagyu steak. Two competitors then attempt to wow the judges with a signature dessert recipe in the final round, using marshmallow spread and stout beer.

Cupcake Wars
Premiering Sunday, May 6th at 8pm – “Renaissance Faire”
It’s a blast from the past as four cupcake bakers fight for a place at the VIP party for the 50th anniversary of the Renaissance Faire in Los Angeles.
Iron Chef America
Premiering Sunday, May 6th at 10pm – “Zakarian vs. Ferraro”
Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian faces off against Challenger Michael Ferraro, Executive Chef at Delicatessen and Macbar in New York City. Judges David Rosengarten, Ching-He Huang and Phil Rosenthaldecide which chef comes up on top.
Premiering Sunday, May 27th at 10pm – “Morimoto vs. Forgione”
It’s a battle of the Iron Chefs as Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto faces off against Iron Chef Marc Forgione in an Iron Chef Grilling Battle set in Kitchen Stadium. Judges John T Edge, Elizabeth Karmel and Rick Abramsondecide who walks away the champion.

Daytime: 30 Minute Meals, Barefoot Contessa, Cooking for Real, Down Home with The Neelys, Giada at Home, Guy’s Big Bite, The Pioneer Woman, Paula’s Best Dishes, Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Sandwich King, The Best Thing I Ever Made, Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d’Arabian, and Trisha’s Southern Kitchen

Primetime: Chopped, Cupcake Wars, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Fat Chef, Food Network Challenge, Good Eats, Heat Seekers, Iron Chef America, Restaurant: Impossible, Restaurant Stakeout, Sweet Genius, The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Worst Cooks in America

DIGITAL CONTENT
Cinco de Mayo
Throw a fabulous fiesta with margaritas, tacos and authentic Mexican recipes from Aarón Sanchez and Marcela Valladolid. Plus, Bobby Flay’s Taco Bash, Top 10 Margaritas, Nachos 50 Ways and more fifth of May favorites.

Food Network: Join the Conversation

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7 Questions with Vic “Vegas” Moea

Vic Vegas

7 Questions is a series of interviews with the culinary movers and shakers you want or ought to know better.

A little over a year ago few people outside of Sin City had ever heard of Vic Moea.  The big, bald, inked chef went from being the scary dude to a genuine momma’s boy in just a few weeks.  Though he narrowly missed being the newest Food Network Star, that title went to good friend Jeff Mauro, that doesn’t mean Vic’s moment in the spotlight is over.

Vic, along with fellow FNS 7 alums Penny Borsuk Davidi, Chris Nirschel and Justin Balmes will be going head-to-head once again only this time it’s for charity.  All four will be competing on the star-studded Chopped All Stars which starts this Sunday in a round that pits four Iron Chefs against each other.  The Starsters will be competing in round three where Vic will be representing St. Jude Children’s Ranch.

These days Vic has been splitting his time between Las Vegas and in Hollywood shooting a handful of pilots.  All this he does while raising three kids and satisfying the public’s requests for his time.  As you can see Vic is a busy man but he was not too busy to answer 7 Questions

1. When did you decide that you could make food your career?

I decided that I could make food my career when I was 19 years old and I found out I was going to have a son and I had to get a job as a dish washer so that’s what I pretty much started out as.  As time went on and I got into it more and I started learning my way around it my memory came back of me cooking with the family and growing up into it.  I knew there was something special about all of this.

2. Which chefs have influenced you the most?

Back then we really only had, like, Emeril. That’s really the one that stood out the most.  The chefs that really influenced me the most really weren’t chefs.  It was my mother and grandmother.  If you notice my style ain’t a reflection of anybody else’s but my mother and my grandmother.  It evolved into the Vic-thing from the Betty and Antoinette-thing.

3. How was your experience on Food Network Star?

You know, I got called for Hell’s Kitchen and Food Network Star at the same time but I had wanted Food Network Star.  It took me five years to get on that show, bro, five years.  Every time I didn’t make it I thought it was the end of the world.  But it wasn’t supposed to happen then because it wouldn’t happen the way it’s happened now.

Dude, being on that show was the scariest thing ever and it was crazy.  Crazy, crazy, crazy, bro.  You think you’re ready to go.  You think you’re great so you go on and it brings you to your knees.  It really brings the best out in you because now it’s so comfortable, so cozy and the confidence is there.  But you do it, you experience it and you get your head handed to you.  You get twelve weeks of schooling and training with the best.

Just a true blessing that whole experience.  It changes your whole life.  I didn’t realize how many people watch that show.  Oh boy.  And now I’ve got Chopped All Stars coming up.  You have to be a Wannabe TV Chef to do what we do.

4. How did the Food Network celebrities you met on the show stand up to your preconceived notions?

Vic and GuyI got to meet my idols.  Susie (Fogelson) is a lovely woman.  She’s an amazing, amazing woman and such a darling.  Dude, Alton is the mad scientist.  He’s hilarious, bro, he’s twisted.  He’s twisted in a good way.  That’s the real deal right there.  Alton is phenomenal and I hear Alton is going to be playing a major role in this upcoming season of Food Network Star.

And I got to know Guy.  He invited me to his Road Show when he was in Arizona.  He called me and said “Come on down.”  So I drove down with a buddy.  That’s another great guy, another cool dude.  Ted Allen – good man!  And Scott Conant, I love that guy.  He’s such a perfect judge.

Flay.  Flay was great.  People ask me, “Is Bobby a jerk?  He seems like a jerk.”  How could he be a jerk?  How many people want to know that guy?  So he’s got to be a little choosy so I guess you gotta earn his respect.  He’s not a jerk, he’s tough, dude.  If you can win him over by being yourself that’s when you and Flay are gonna be tight forever.  Me and Mr. Flay are very close.

Emeril, you gotta understand, a lot of TV people don’t really cook but that guy, man.  I’m going to have to say, not taking anything away from anyone else, but by far one of the most talented cooks I’ve ever met in my life. I’m a chili pro now because of him.

5. Which of your fellow cast members do you still keep up with?

Ah, Jyll, the most underrated person on Food Network Star.  She’s awesome, dude.  She needs to keep going.  I got to know her so well, teaming up with her so much.  That by far was my best female friend on the show.  Jyll is awesome, dude.  Orchid, she’s such a doll, dude.  Oh my God I love her.  And Whitney is amazing.  Whitney Chen is fabulous.  I love Whitney Chen.

Howie, by far, one of the most amazing dudes I ever met.  He’s become like a brother to me.  Me and Howie, we talk all the time.  I’ve flown down to Denver and hung out with him.  We went to the first Monday Night Football game together.  I freakin’ love Howie.  He was the first one off the show and he’s going to be one of the biggest stars out there.  Isn’t that killer, dude?

Yeah, and Crazy Chris is going balistic right now.  He’s on VH1 Celebrity Couples Rehab with Angelina from the Jersey Shore.  That’s perfect you know what I mean?  I was making jokes like the second week we were in the house.  I looked at Chris and said, “So, when this is over who are you going to be dating from the Jersey Shore?”  I said that two weeks into filming Food Network Star.  I gotta stop wishing for things, man, a little Vic-tradamus going on here.  He can be my little brother for life.

And Susie (Jimenez).  She’s completely sweet.  She’s a little firecracker.  I’ve got nothing bad to say about nobody.  I liked everyone and everybody was awesome to me.  People have said to me, “Vic, you look so distressed every time someone got eliminated” and I’m like, “Dude, I made friends with everybody.”  We bonded so well, half the time we forgot it was a competition show.

6. How was competing on FNS different from competing on Chopped: All Stars?

Vic Vegas MoeaFor one the time frame (twelve weeks versus one day).  On FNS we were isolated from the whole outside world.  Everything was stripped of us, couldn’t talk to our family often.  I’d say we were in jail but in jail you get to use the phone.  But Food Network Star prepared us to go on Chopped and have a blast.  When you see us on Chopped no one is trippin’ we’re just like, “Yeah!”  And (Chopped) is the crazy show that scares the crap out of everyone.

Food Network Star is a combination of personality and skills.  Chopped is about skills.  Chopped is not a personality show.  Did we bring any personalities to the show?  Hmm, I don’t know. [laughs]  But Justin Balmes may have gotten ixnay’d from Food Network Star early but now this is about cooking ability and that guy is Iron Chef status.  And I’m like, “Oh my God I’m facing Justin B?  Holy crap!”

When I found out the line-up I was like alright, Chris.  Anything is possible because Chris has been a chef now in Little Italy for quite a few months and Penny didn’t go home because she didn’t cook good.  She didn’t have one bad meal.  And you have Justin Balmes who’s pretty much like an encyclopedia and very talented.  He could be trapped on an island with wild life and he’s going to survive cuz he knows how to utilize the whole animal.  Let’s show everybody out there who knows how to cook.

It was awesome hanging out with Penny and Justin and Chris again.  Cuz Penny she’s good people, man.  She really is a good person.  She just played the heel.  That’s OK because at the end of the day when she goes home with her family she’s a loving mother, she’s a caring friend.

7. What’s next for Vic Moea?

I am making it happen.  Some much stuff.  More than you even know is going to be jumping off in the next year.  I go non-stop, man.  I used Food Network Star as a lesson.  I used it as the tune-up for where I really want to be. I got it all out of my system and it was like ba-bing.  Now, let’s do this.  I teamed up with US Foods; I’m now their corporate executive chef for Las Vegas.  They’re totally cool with me going down to Los Angeles to shoot the pilots and the presentations for the three or four show ideas that have been brewed up for me.

For a couple of months after the show (Food Network Star) we weren’t allowed to talk to anybody.  But almost every production company wanted to meet me. So I was talking to Mark Burnett Productions to Big Dog Productions to 123 Productions, everybody.  And a lot of people were scripting up shows about me just in case my future didn’t continue with Food Network as well as the Momma’s Boy show being scripted.  There’s other people – Travel, A&E, Spike TV, Bravo.  Just wait.  It’s amazing, dude, what’s going to be taking place.  But no more competing, now it’s host time.

As a kid I literally wanted to be a WWE wrestler.  At heart I am a WWE wrestler.  I don’t want to be a full time wrestler; I just want to be in Wrestlemania one day.  And actually, Stu, it’s being worked on.  You never know.  I could be wrestling Guy Fieri on Wrestlemania.

Chopped All-Stars Season 2 Judges & Host Bios

Chopped All Stars 2 bios for judges and host

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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