Long Branch chef Jared Brown is trying to prove that the East Coast serves up the best summer food.
Executive Chef at Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant New Jersey MonthlyMy Favorite Raw Bars – Join Team East Coast on the Food Network Quarrel on the seashore. The show, which premiered on June 19, presents the East Coast team (led by Chef Tiffany Faison) and the West Coast team (led by Chef Brooke Williamson) with a set of challenges posed by Chef Antonia Lofaso.
In the first episode, Brown is forced into a survival round, where he is in danger of being sent home. But he’s back in competition with his fried lobster fries.
For Brown, stepping into the competition kitchen for the first time wasn’t as if he had tried it before.
“The first time they put a camera in your face and in your food is nerve-wracking,” he says.
The show airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET, and Brown is still in competition. The final episode is scheduled to air on July 24.
[RELATED: Long Branch’s Transformation at the Jersey Shore Shifts Into Overdrive]
How did it feel to meet Chefs Tiffany Faison, Brooke Williamson, and Antonia Lovasu?
Jared Brown: I’d run the Food Network on a normal day and see all of them, so it was amazing to be standing right next to them. Just being able to cook with Tiffany was crazy. Taking on four chefs with four different cooking styles, and giving them first-hand advice, is impressive. I didn’t really understand how hard it is to judge, how you really have to understand the food and break down each individual part of the plate. Hearing Antonia’s critique of the dishes was impressive.
How did it feel to work with your East Coast teammates?
New Jersey does a kind of New England style, especially on the beach. The general refinement that all chefs had and were able to bring to their own areas. We all blended well together.
What is the biggest challenge for you?
Cooking competition is very different. To be in a brand new kitchen, where things are laid out differently from my own, you have to get used to it pretty quickly. You have to pack a lot of flavor into one dish. Sometimes in a restaurant, people can say things like too much acid, too much salt, while in competition everything should be over the top. You have to change your way of thinking a little when you realize that you are cooking for some of the most experienced tastes in America.
How did it feel to enter the competition for the first time?
I’m not going to lie, first challenge, I was so nervous. I was completely out of my element, but once I got into week two, I felt like I knew what I was doing. It gets really fun after that. I’d love to do something like this again.
What’s your favorite thing about East Coast/New Jersey cuisine?
We have such diversity. Going from lobster rolls from Maine to New England with baking soda and the like. And we’re Garden State, with lots of fresh veggies and stuff, especially in the spring and summer. If you were to just put the East Coast alone, it would be more like going to a different country compared to other areas in the US
What’s new in Ronnie this summer?
In the summer we have some fun dishes. We have a special octopus which is very merry. We have a lot of classics that have been in the restaurant for a long time and feel we are improving and taking them to a new level. When I arrived at Ronnie’s Restaurant, I wanted to raise the bar for cooking and teach the staff how to be more consistent in what they do.
Click here to leave a comment