Maine chefs who have been thrown into the pressure cooker known as competitive food TV have some advice for colleagues who are interested in trying it out themselves.

No. 1, it’s not all about the cooking.

More than one Maine chef with experience on cooking competition shows refers to the programs as more “game show” than culinary talent showcase.

“There’s two different things going on,” said Clark Frasier, chef/co-owner of MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit and former contestant on “Top Chef Masters” and “Beat Bobby Flay.” “There’s the drama and how you are as a performer, and then there’s the competition part. That’s not something we understood when we started.”

Frasier said producers are looking for someone who is likable, friendly and fun to watch, who won’t get overly intense in the kitchen. Charismatic and competitive is OK, Frasier’s partner, chef Mark Gaier, added, but “uber competitive” is a mistake.

“They end up looking like schmucks,” Frasier agreed.

No. 2, don’t worry too much about making mistakes.

It’s not your life, it’s a TV show. Frasier noted that chef Missy Robbins cut her finger badly on an episode of “Top Chef Masters.” “Did it end her career? Hardly,” he said. “She’s now one of the most popular chefs in New York City.”

Chef Shanna O’Hea of Academe in Kennebunk says she always tells herself that the outcome of a show, or how she’s portrayed on TV, does not define her or her ability as a chef.

She also suggested that chefs not worry too much about how they will be edited. O’Hea said she cried during an interview on “Chopped,” and her station was a mess. She thought, “Now I’m going to be edited as a crying, messy chef.”

But the exact opposite, happened, she said, noting she was edited “beautifully.”

“You kind of have to let that go, and say whatever happens, happens,” O’Hea said.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad


Comments are not available on this story.