Meet the three local chefs competing in Gordon Ramsay’s new show ‘Next Level Chef’ – Daily News
When it comes to testing your skills against other opponents, taking things “to the next level” is a common proclamation for many competitors.
But a new cooking competition really takes things to the next level, whether the contestants like it or not.
Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay stings home cooks, professional chefs, social media cooks and more in his new show “Next Level Chef”, where they compete on a three-story set, each floor containing a different type of cuisine.
The upper level is a chef’s dream kitchen, with the latest high-end equipment and the best selection of ingredients. The intermediate level is like a real commercial kitchen where everything necessary to create a restaurant-quality meal is available to chefs.
The basement, well, that’s another story.
This is where the equipment may or may not work very well, or where the ingredients may not be as plentiful and where no chef wants to end up for a challenge.
But for the winner, it won’t just be bragging rights that they are great chefs on many levels, as the top prize is $ 250,000.
And three local chefs are among the 15 competitors vying for money and the title of “Next Level Chef”.
The show debuts at 8 p.m. Jan. 2 on Fox, but before the series premiere, meet the locals competing on “Next Level Chef”.
The amateur chef will likely have one of the loudest and most enthusiastic sections of cheers, as during the day he makes a living as an AP science teacher at a college in San Bernardino, and his students are all set. to watch it on TV.
“They’re super excited, they’re all going to watch. They know the exact date it will air and I think they’re really excited to see it, ”said Bethel, who was born in Brazil but has lived in Corona since the age of 6. And he credits his city for expanding his love for food.
“I’ve always been exposed to many different types of food because it’s a very diverse community. As I grew up, I was able to try many different cuisines from all over the world, ”he said.
Although he never attended cooking school or worked as a chef, Bethel always loved to cook and during the pandemic he began to cook seriously at home and eventually posted his skills on TikTok with cooking videos, which got him noticed by show producers.
“I was totally nervous. I know I can cook any dish, but my competition were people who cook professionally, ”he said. “So I knew I had to study, adapt and shake things up on the go, but it was also exciting because I’m always ready to compete.”
One of the hardest things about the show was having to get creative on the fly, he said.
“Basically you introduce yourself and they tell you what you’re going to cook. You can’t take notes with you, it’s just what you have in mind and your skills, ”Bethel said.
Luckily for Bethel, his cooking style suited the show perfectly, having had to adapt quickly to cook all kinds of dishes.
“The one thing that interests me the most is trying new things all the time, so I never really cook the same thing over and over again,” he said.
Although not a professional chef, Bethel was proud to hold on with his creativity and adaptability.
“Everything I had in front of me, I am proud of what I was able to invent,” he said.
Stéphanie “Pyet” DeSpain
City: Santa Monica
Originally from Kansas City, DeSpain now lives in Santa Monica and after attending Le’Cole Culinaire in Kansas City, she started a personal chef business called Pyet’s Plate in 2016. And during COVID-19, she started posting videos cooking online, which caught the attention of producers.
“My specialty is indigenous fusion foods, so I focus on my culture. I am multicultural, Mexican American and Native American. So I’m very passionate about integrating my two cultures into the food I create, ”she said.
For DeSpain, one of the hardest things about competing was having what she called “impostor syndrome”.
“I thought I shouldn’t be there. Everyone who was on the show is a phenomenal, super talented chef and it was just about trying to figure out what your placement was there, ”she said. “Most of the time, I was there before I competed, I had this impostor syndrome. So it was mostly about getting that out of my own head and focusing on the task at hand was the hardest part, ”she said.
Trying to be creative on the fly was also quite difficult, she said, especially if you found yourself in a rudimentary basement.
“That’s one thing I would have to say about the basement, is that you have to be super creative because you are not in a setting where everything is accessible to you. It really forces you to use your creative side because if you don’t have it you’re screwed.
And when it comes to Ramsay in real life, what you see on TV is what you get in real life, she said.
“Yes, he’s very intimidating in real life,” she said.
“He’s the real deal, he’s everything everyone thinks he is and more. He’s kind and caring, but he’s also serious.
This OC native swapped the world of finance for cooking when she decided to quit her career as an investment manager at Morgan Stanley two years ago to move to Japan and study French and Japanese cuisine. at the Cordon Bleu.
“I wasn’t sure if I would be happy to do this,” she said of her career in finance. “I really believe that if we are working 70 percent of our lives, you should be doing something that you are really passionate about,” she said.
And that turned out to be a wise move for the chef, who worked at places like Wolfgang Steakhouse before the COVID-19 hit and became the fairly popular star on Twitch, with nearly 70,000 followers watching. his cooking demonstrations.
“A few of my subscribers sent me the link where Chef Ramsay was recruiting for the show and I ended up applying and walked in,” she said.
But it wasn’t easy to go from Chief Twitch to competitive TV.
“I’m a Twitch boss, so when you’re broadcasting you want to be as slow as possible so people can engage with you. The longer the streams, the more subscribers, the more engagement I get, ”she said. “Being told I had to cook things quickly rather than as slowly as possible was a big change. “
Aside from testing his skills and possibly earning a ton of money, Wang also had a particularly poignant reason for wanting to be on the show.
“I talk about it a lot on my Twitch but I have anxiety and ADHD and so I really struggle in high pressure situations. So I really wanted to show that even though you are struggling with these mental disabilities, you can still thrive, ”she said.
“It was extremely scary, it’s a little terrifying. Chef Ramsay is one of my heroes and the reason I wanted to be a chef was largely inspired by great chefs like him. So it was incredible to be in his presence, ”she said.
“I’m just happy I got to work with Chef Ramsay and I didn’t just tip over and die,” she added with a chuckle.