Representing Tacoma and Olympia, two chefs — both women — compete on two new cooking shows, one now streaming and the other available June 1.
Kristen Lyon, the executive chef of Odin Brewing in Tacoma, appears in Season 4, Episode 2 of “FireMasters,” a grilling competition on the Cooking Channel and Food Network Canada.
On Discovery+, Elise Landry, who owns the barely year-old Chicory in Olympia with her husband Adam Wagner, jumped into the first season of Chopped Next Gen, a fresh spin on the wildly successful Food Network series.
They follow The Red Hot’s 2021 appearance on another Cooking Channel show, “Food Paradise.”
Hosted by Canadian chef Dylan Benoit and produced by a TopChef Canada veteran, “FireMasters” is filmed in Hamilton, Ontario, outside of Toronto, on a set built from the bones of an old warehouse. Each contestant has a cooking space outfitted with one charcoal and two gas grills, plus a bullet smoker and a communal concrete block fire pit.
In the first round, three chefs cook a dish that epitomizes their style. The two winners compete in the second round, and the winner there cooks against one of the judges in the final round — with $10,000 on the table. If the judge edges out the contestant, they win notoriety, not the money.
Lyons said she learned of the show through a friend, applied and video-interviewed a few times before heading to Canada in 2019. She described waking at 5 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start time, which was “disorienting” in part because cooking time lasts just 30 minutes.
“So much goes into it besides just what you see in the final edits,” she told The News Tribune. “Competition cooking is a whole other beast than day-to-day operations, and I look forward to doing more of it!”
In Episode 4, titled “A Blaze of Glory,” she showed off a beef tenderloin prepared in Spanish-inspired way with cilantro gremolata, a charred onion soubise and “barn burner” whiskey beans.
CHICORY CHEF REPS OLYMPIA ON CHOPPED NEXT GEN
While “FireMasters” has been compared to “BBQ Pitmasters,” “Chopped Next Gen” also leans into a modern take on cooking shows looking to attract “young, hip and hungry chefs,” according to a March Discovery+ press release. A five-episode sister series, “Chopped 420,” challenges four chefs who have incorporated cannabis into their food.
Actress Liza Koshy hosts Next Gen, whose judging panel includes chefs who themselves have climbed the ranks of being a fresh face to award-winning, including TopChef Mei Lin and James Beard winner Kwame Onwuachi.
The model mirrors Chopped, with three rounds of appetizer, entree and dessert, made with mystery basket ingredients.
Landry flew to Palm Springs, California, to film the episode in February, just as the winter storm dumped snow across the Pacific Northwest. The airline lost her bag, where she had stowed her knives, but thankfully it arrived the morning of the competition.
“I was so nervous all day,” she said, laughing about drinking endless amounts of water.
She, too, arrived at the outdoor set at 5 a.m. for a full day of shooting with three other young chefs — two from California and one from Atlanta.
“It was a really cool experience,” she recalled. “If I got asked to come back, I would consider that for sure. In the moment, I would be like, ‘Hell no, I’m not doing that again!’ I’ve kind of forgotten how stressful it was.”
The episode is available to stream on Discovery+ as of Tuesday, June 1 at midnight. Speaking to The News Tribune and The Olympian Monday afternoon, while prepping for the week ahead in the Chicory kitchen, she couldn’t reveal details of the outcome but hinted at her excitement.
“That’s the end goal is just to put Chicory on the map, and raise awareness about why we want to be a business here,” she said. “I’m doing this for my staff, for the Chicory team — they’re the ones that are running the show while I’m gone.”
The restaurant, inspired by her family’s roots in Louisiana and Kansas City with a commitment to local, seasonal ingredients, many sourced from the farmers market, has quickly become a favorite in the state capital.
FireMasters aired in Canada in April and became available on U.S. streaming platforms (Amazon, Hulu, Discovery+) May 27.