Louisville chefs appear on Food Network's 'Chopped'
They hope the appearance helps bring attention to Louisville's booming food scene.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When it comes to quickness and creativity, there's no bigger challenge than "Chopped" on the Food Network. Two Louisville chefs recently competed on the cooking show, not only putting their skills in the kitchen on display, but also putting the national spotlight on Louisville's growing food scene.
When it comes to cooking, chef Griffin Paulin is not afraid to break the rules.
"It's supposed to be vegan, but this is a variation on this that we call 'The Hypocrite'," says Paulin.
It's paid off in the kitchen of his Frankfort Avenue restaurant "Mirin," and now he's putting his skills on the chopping block competing on the Food Network's hit show "Chopped."
The three-round competition show challenges chefs from around the country to use mystery ingredients in a dish served up to judges.
"There's not really any way to simulate how hard it is either. You know you've got these cameras in your face, these judges you've been watching on TV for how many ever years critiquing you," said Paulin.
It was a much different atmosphere than the laid back style at Mirin where Paulin's tricked out ramen steals the show.
"The idea behind this place was sort of as long as you're kind to people and the food is good, nothing else should matter that much," said Paulin.
"Chopped" recently held a casting call in Louisville and Paulin was picked along with Andrew Welenken, Executive Chef at "La Chasse" in the Highlands.
"It was so intense. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done and the funnest, awesomest thing I've ever done. It was so cool," said Welenken.
Welenken's episode aired last month and stuck him with the intriguing ingredient of a duck tongue.
"Actually they didn't show this on "Chopped," but when I opened up the box of duck tongues, I immediately put one in my mouth," he said.
But that culinary curveball wasn't what Welenken found most challenging.
"Finding the ingredients that you want to make these ingredients shine with was the hardest part, because you didn't hardly have any time to look in the pantry," said Welenken.
More Derby City cooks are expected to tackle the "Chopped" mystery basket in the future and with the national spotlight shining on the food scene in town, both "Chopped" competitors believe it can only cook up tasty results.
"It shows the rest of America that we do some pretty amazing things here. We have some really talented chefs," said Welenken.
"We have a really diverse and eclectic food scene. I'm really proud to be a part of it," said Paulin.
While neither Paulin nor Welenken triumphed on the show, they both hope to one day get their just desserts in the "Chopped" kitchen.
"If I had another chance, I'd definitely hit it out of the park," said Welenken.
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