A local chef has new bragging rights after taking down one of the top chefs in a one-on-one cooking challenge.

Kevin “Chef Kev” Ashade, a 2006 The Colony High School graduate, appeared on the April 14 episode of the Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay. ” In the episode, titled “Have Merci!,” Ashade faced off against another chef. Each had to create a dish with a secret ingredient of Flay’s choice. The judges were looking for the chef who would have the skills to beat Flay in the final round.

“You have to really cook on your feet. You’re not given any advance notice about what ingredient you’ll have to use,” Ashade said. “Ours were artichokes. I fried, pureed and sautéed mine.”

Ashade then went on to cook his signature dish, Coq au Vin - chicken in red wine. The classical French dish is not well-known, but it is taught to chefs in culinary school. Both Ashade and Flay were given 45 minutes to prepare their dish.

“The whole time I was just thinking ‘I need to get this done, plated and make sure it tastes good.’ My adrenaline was running,” Ashade said. “It was a little surreal.”

Several well-known chefs judged both dishes before declaring Ashade the winner.

“I now have the bragging rights that I beat Bobby Flay,” Ashade said. “This show is really different from other realty shows. It was a challenge, and I think this is probably one of the hardest shows out there.”

Beginnings

Ashade began cooking before he was 10 years old. By the time he was 14, he was cooking professionally as part of a culinary program at Dale Jackson Career Center.

“I loved cooking dinner. I started with box dinners then graduated from there to my own recipes,” Ashade said. “My mom would still cook and sometimes we would cook together. What I like about cooking is that it lets me be free, and it relaxes me.”

Ashade said his passion for cooking began after he started watching chef Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network. He said now he considers chef Gordon Ramsey his idol.

“His cooking is very solid, and he’s very knowledgeable about all different kinds of food,” Ashade said. “I respect him as a chef.”

Ashade attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York. He said the school is “very selective” about who is admitted.

“It’s the most well-known culinary school in the world and has a lot of international students,” Ashade said. “In order to apply, you have to have at least six months working in the industry and have a letter of recommendation from an alumnus.”

While still at Dale Jackson, Ashade said his teacher Nelda Mills was instrumental in getting him to where he is today.

“She was always helping her students. One day she brought in a demonstrator from CIA, and I knew then that I wanted to go there,” Ashade said. “She helped me get into the school.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Ashade returned to DFW and worked in a number of Dallas restaurants including Craft at the W Hotel, Nana at the Hilton Anatole and The Oceanaire Seafood Room. He also founded GourmEATS Catering Services in 2013.

“I knew I wanted to build my empire in Dallas,” Ashade said. “I’m trying to be a household name. I love catering because it’s all about what the client needs. I might have my own restaurant in the future, but I would want to have one where everyone could eat - not something really fancy.”

Ashade called himself a “well-rounded, open-minded chef.”

“I like to cook everything from Asian to French to barbecue,” Ashade said. “My philosophy is that not everything has to be the same. I like to take recipes and make it my own.”

Ashade said he hopes his appearance on the show helps advance his career.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I got to showcase my skill set, and I feel like now people understand me and my cooking,” Ashade said.

Follow Ashade on social media: Instagram @ChefKevAshade, Twitter @ChefKevAshade and Facebook Chef Kev Ashade. 

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