A Forest Hills cook will try to bring home the bacon on a new reality show.
Adrian Ashby, 36, a home chef, is appearing on this Thursday’s episode of FYI channel’s “World Food Championships,” airing at 10 p.m. The six-episode series features the annual competition, where hundreds of professional chefs and home cooks vie to win in their food category, from sandwiches and burgers to dessert and barbecue, for thousands of dollars. They then meet in a final showdown for a chance to take home a final $300,000 prize. During the tournament-style competition each contestant is given a time limit to create the best dish possible.
Held in Las Vegas this past December, Ashby showed off his culinary skills in the 2013 competition’s bacon category.
Ashby’s obsession with bacon began when he was a kid watching his mother and grandmother in the kitchen, where they would make dishes from their homeland of Barbados. One of the first things his grandmother showed him was how to fry bacon in a cast-iron skillet.
“Baking, cooking, entertaining was always at the forefront,” he said.
The hospital executive assistant never made a career out of food, only taking a few cooking classes, but has always enjoyed whipping up dishes at home.
Ashby finally took his culinary skills to the next level when he lost his job around the time of the 2008 economic crash.
“I started competitive cooking because I needed an outlet,” he said.
One day Ashby saw an ad in Edible Brooklyn for a “cakedown,” and decided to give it a try.
“After that first experience I was hooked,” he said.
Ashby estimates he’s done about 30 competitions in the last five years.
One of those competitions was the People’s Choice Bacon Takedown in October 2012, where he won first place and qualified for the bacon category at the 2013 World Food Championships event.
His winning dish was a bacon Nutella brownie with a Corn Flake crust and marshmallow cream frosting.
“To me [bacon is] like a natural enhancer to any dish or drink. It just pairs well with anything — [from] chocolate to your breakfast. It can be sweet, savory, it can be spicy. It can be all-encompassing,” Ashby said.
His food and personality also won him an appearance on an episode of the “World Food Championships” reality show.
Ashby hopes that after his TV appearance he can one day make the jump from home cook to professional chef.
“It was a great learning experience,” he said about both the competition and taping the show. “It was humbling.”
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