North Fork chef to appear on episode of ‘Chopped’

02/24/2013 12:00 PM |

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Stephan Bogardus of North Fork Table & Inn will take his cooking game to the small screen next month on an episode of Food Network’s ‘Chopped.’

If you watch the popular Food Network contest show “Chopped,” you’ll have a local chef to root for in an episode airing next month.

Stephan Bogardus of Southold, chef de cuisine at The North Fork Table & Inn, will appear in an episode set to air at 10 p.m. March 12.

Mr. Bogardus, 25, learned his way around the kitchen working at several East End eateries. The chef, who speaks four languages, originally planned on attending law school, but was not accepted into any good schools, he said. On the advice of another chef, he attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 2009.

Not long after, he made his was back to the North Fork.

Mr. Bogardus said Gerry Hayden, executive chef of The North Fork Table & Inn, recommended him to “Chopped” producers.

The show pits four chefs against each other competing for a chance to win $10,000. The challenge is to take a mystery basket of ingredients and turn them into dishes that are judged on creativity, presentation, and taste — with minimal time to plan and execute — a description of the show reads.

We sat down with Mr. Bogardus this week to discuss his career and his experience on the show:

Q. What would you say your specialty is?

A. What we have here at the North Fork Table & Inn, American cuisine and comfort food. Fresh local ingredients, they naturally display the pristine of the North Fork.

Q. Were you able to bring any North Fork flare to any of your dishes?

A. Absolutely. I like to feel being a native and a local out here, I brought a lot of personality and Long Island pride to the show for sure.

Q. One of the ingredients in the first round was beef tongue, had you ever worked with it before?

A. I make smoked beef tongue here at the restaurant. We purchased all the cows from Russell McCall at McCall Ranch this year, and so every two weeks we received a whole cow, that had the tongue in it. So I always did some kind of cure. I was quite aware of the ingredient.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect of the competition?

A. The timing is really, really hard. I had practiced a couple of times with twenty-minute increments and mystery baskets and things, it goes so much faster when you are in the studio.

It was hands down the most challenging 20 minutes of my life. Not only having to do what they ask you, to put together the best plate against these talented individuals, then there are cameras and lights and cords running across the floor you had to jump over. Something they did in the pantry, they put ingredients all over the place. It’s not all organized and together. There’s a lot of hunting and pecking that you have to do to assemble.

Q. Do you think your young age was an asset, or did it hinder your performance?

A. It was definitely a double-edged sword. It was great because I feel like a lot of the competitors underestimated me, but it was also challenging because my level of experience did not match most others. I would consider myself the least experienced of all the individuals.

Q. How did it feel to be selected as a contestant?

A. I knew I was being considered to be a contestant, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be selected. I’m just a 25-year-old from Southold, I never thought I’d be on TV.

It was a life-changing experience. It was truly an honor to be chosen as a competitor. There was really an acknowledgment toward years of hard work and experience, on a national level, which is pretty sweet.

cmiller@timesreview.com

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