As a world champion pitmaster, Andy Husbands is pretty good with a grill. Now he's putting his skills on the chopping block.
The chef and owner of Boston-area hotspots Tremont 647 and The Smoke Shop is set to compete in the five-round "Chopped Grill Masters" tournament, with the winner receiving $50,000 and a trip to Napa Valley. Husbands will throw down against fellow culinary stars Megan Day, Laura Frazee and Craig Verhage in the first round of the competition, which airs Tuesday, Aug. 1, at 10 p.m.
The Bay State BBQ king, who previously competed on Gordon Ramsay’s "Hell’s Kitchen," tells Metro that he had a blast practicing and filming for "Chopped."
"We had a fun and challenging time praciticing," Husbands says. "The actually taping of it was wild. I've never seen anything like it."
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For folks who haven't seen the Food Network series hosted by Ted Allen, "Chopped" pits four chefs against each other as they cook up appetizers, entrees and desserts for a panel of judges using ingredients from mystery baskets. The catch is, each round is only between 20 and 30 minutes, so there's no room for errors.
The Boston chef revealed that he enjoyed the thoughtful input and criticism from judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Myron Mixon and Marc Murphy. He was also comfortable working with the various ingredients on the episode, which range from weird pies and vegan products to cuts of pork and beef ribs, according to a press release.
"I've been cooking for over 30 years, so I'm pretty comfortable in the kitchen, even kitchens I don't know," Husbands says. "What you really want to do is look at an ingredient and process what it is. What is its flavor profile? What is its cooking profile?"
In honor of the episode's debut, Husbands is hosting a viewing party at The Smoke Shop in Cambridge. While the grill expert is excited to see the episode in its entirety for the first time, he's also little nervous to see how he comes across on camera.
"I'm pretty excited, but I haven't seen the final product, so who knows?" Husbands says. "When someone tapes you, it's like, who knows how you're going to look. It's nerve-wracking."
Husbands won't be the only local star to appear on "Chopped Grill Masters" in August. Sweet Cheeks chef Tiffani Faison will serve as a judge on the Aug. 8 episode opposite Murphy and Scott Conant.
As for whether Husbands makes it to the tournament finale, which airs Aug. 29, fans will have to wait and see. Regardless of his performance, though, he's definitely down for another "Chopped" appearance in the future.
"'Chopped' was fun," Husbands says. "I like that high energy stuff. It was cool."
If you go:
"Chopped Grill Masters" viewing party, 9:30 p.m., The Smoke Shop, 25 Hampshire St., Cambridge, eventbrite.com