Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky hopes her dish does not end up on the chopping block.
The executive chef and co-founder of Bear Bar and Restaurant, located at 12-14 31st Avenue in Long Island City, will appear on an episode of the Food Network’s “Chopped” airing Tuesday, August 6. On the show, which has already been taped, she competes against three other chefs for a $10,000 prize.
“It’s a little surreal,” said Pogrebinsky. “I’m a really competitive person and I love when there’s a rush. I like a challenge and it was really fun to meet new people and be thrown into a crazy environment.”
Contestants on “Chopped” receive baskets filled with mystery ingredients. Each chef must create dishes and compete to make it to the next round.
On the August 6 episode, called “Walk on the Whelk Side,” the chefs work with ingredients such as whelk snails, lemon bars, lamb shawarma and cucumbers.
“I was immediately in the zone, I was paying attention to the clock but at the same time I forgot the cameras were there and that there were other contestants,” said Pogrebinsky. “In real life in the kitchen I take weeks to design a dish. You find the right ingredients, you test them, you pair them, you try them in different ways and in here [the show] that’s all out the window.”
When it came to the judging, Pogrebinsky said she was not too nervous because she feels like she is always being judged.
“Every time a dish goes out, I worry about it,” she said. “I’m confident with every dish I put out, but at the same time because I care about it so much, I always look for that feedback from customers.”
After being a high school history teacher, Pogrebinsky was pushed by her brother to follow her dreams and passion to become a chef. In 2011, she and her brother, both immigrants from the Ukraine, opened up Bear Bar and Restaurant serving modern Russian cuisine.
“I still feel like I’m that culinary kid that is so inspired,” said Pogrebinksy. “It feels great and it is something I’ve always wanted.”
There will be a viewing party at the restaurant Tuesday night, August 6. Guests can RSVP to see if Pogrebinksy comes out a “Chopped” winner. They will also be able to taste samples of dishes the chef cooked on the show.
Once the episode ends, Pogrebinksy will talk about her experience.
The “Walk on the Whelk Side” episode will premiere on the Food Network at 10 p.m.
Bear Bar and Restaurant is open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., for dinner on Tuesday to Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.
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