Ridgewood local competes in new cooking competition series on Hulu

Sydney Buck on Hulu’s “Secret Chef.”
Photo courtesy Hulu

Ridgewood resident and private chef Sydney Buck will appear on a new Hulu exclusive cooking competition series “Secret Chef” starting on Thursday, June 29.

The latest cooking competition series on the streaming platform brings 10 contestants from across the country to put their culinary skills to the test, all for a chance to win $100,000. The group consists of professional chefs, social media influencers and home cooks, looking to take home the winning prize.

Sydney Buck on Hulu’s “Secret Chef.” Photo courtesy Hulu

Buck worked full-time as the executive chef of the wine bar, Cherry on Top, at 379 Suydam St., in Brooklyn, before starting BuckWild Kitchen, her own private chef business in Ridgewood. Originally born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, Buck says she first moved to Manhattan but felt a greater sense of community in Ridgewood. 

“A lot of my friends are like graphic designers or social workers, but I think moving to Ridgewood, I started to meet more people that were in the industry, like bartenders or chefs, just from going out in the area,” Buck told QNS. “I think a lot of people that are chefs or bartenders live in this area, and I slowly started to become friends with people that are in my industry.” 

Buck chose to pursue cooking full-time in June 2020, after working seven years in the beauty industry. Frustrated with trying to move forward with a career in beauty, Buck says it was the motivation from her friends, especially during the pandemic, that encouraged her to pursue cooking full-time. 

“… I’ve just gotten so far in the past year from just pushing myself with what I’m doing and to see how far I’ve come is really important to me,” Buck said.  

Sydney Buck on Hulu’s “Secret Chef.” Photo courtesy Hulu

The self-taught chef, learning from her family members and all sorts of cooking media, hopes to open her own community cafe, cooking delicious and affordable meals for the neighborhood. 

Buck focuses on sustainability in her cooking and supports shopping at local businesses. Some residents may catch a glimpse of her at some local favorites like the Ridgewood Pork Store, on 516 Seneca Ave., or Aunt Ginny’s Bar, on 652 Woodward Ave. She also mentioned the Al-Yemeni Deli, on 666 Woodward Ave., and Good Neighbors Supermarket, on 59-29 Myrtle Ave., as a couple of other go-to shops. 

In “Secret Chef” contestants will undergo a series of cooking challenges inside a secret underground kitchen labyrinth, connected by a series of conveyor belts, under the direction of a mischievous animated talking chef’s hat.

In blind taste tests, chiefs will rate each other’s final dishes, making the voting process anonymous. Chef David Chang is the executive director of the show. Secret Chef is produced by Vox Media Studios, Majordomo Media and Wheelhouse’s Spoke Studios.

“I think the experience was amazing. I got to meet so many amazing chefs, you know, and to be in a room with that many talented people is just a really inspiring thing,” Buck said. “I had the best time and I can’t wait for everyone to watch it. It’s a wild ride.”