May 25th, 2011 12:19 pm | by ASHLEY COLLMAN Food & Drink |

Survivor: Chef Edition

Two Portland chefs compete on Food Network's "Extreme Chef"

DISH_Departure_3717SET PHASERS TO TASTY: Departure’s Chef Gregory Gourdet plates an order of crispy pork belly with pickled cherries. - IMAGE:
Jersey Shore aside, America's looniest reality shows can be found on Food Network. On shows like Iron Chef America and Chopped, contestants are given surprise ingredients and impossible time limits in which to produce gourmet meals judged by a panel of critical foodies. The Network announced Monday that it will be adding an even more competitive show to its lineup: Extreme Chef. The chefs on this new show will not only have to create a perfect meal, but complete intense physical feats, and make the meal without most of the tools necessary. Two of Portland’s best chefs have competed and will be on separate episodes of Extreme Chef: Gregory Gourdet of Departure and Leather Storrs of Noble Rot.

Gourdet, whose only previous extreme cooking experience was working in a small 100-degree kitchen in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, said that the physical competition was what intrigued him most.

“It really appealed to me because of the type of person I am. I don’t think I’m a very typical chef. Chef reality cooking shows are kind of silly anyway so I think it was cool to compete in the most extreme. I’m an extremely physical person and that was a big part of show, the physical challenges,” Gourdet told WW.

And apparently these physical competitions aren’t easy. As a workout junkie and marathoner, even Gourdet found them difficult.

“When it got time to cook it was really a test of where your wits were. You had to leave all of the physical challenges behind and just start cooking. Basically, in the end the judges were not as much concerned with the physical challenges as the final quality, presentation and taste of the dish.”

Sounds stressful, but Gourdet admits he’d readily compete again. “You can’t take it too seriously. You gotta have fun.”

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