Step aside familiar Food & Wine Classic faces,; one of the Roaring Fork Valley’s own is getting a few minutes (42 to be exact) of fame this week.
Flip Wise, executive chef at Free Range Kitchen + Wine Bar, makes his television debut this week on the third episode of this season's Chopped Grill Masters, which premiered on August 1. Hosted by Ted Allen, the series takes 16 of the country’s most talented grilling pros from around the country to its faux farm in the heart of New York City, where they’ll compete in the standard Chopped contest format for a grand prize of $50,000 and a dream vacation to Napa Valley.
With a previous stint as a butcher at Meat & Cheese and owner of Open Fire Catering, where he manned an 8-foot smoker and wood-fire grill on a 20-foot trailer, Wise is already well known for his culinary skills. He’s also deeply entrenched in the local farming and ranching communities, from which he sources the majority of his ingredients in his newest kitchen in downtown Basalt.
Wise thinks those relationships and conversations with clients landed him a spot on the show, which gives contestants only charcoal and propane grills, and a smoker to create an appetizer, entrée, and dessert.
In an interview with Wise, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports:
“Once you engage in conversation, then I got to talk about the talented farmers and ranchers I got the ingredients from and it really opened eyes,” Wise said.
It is through that conversation and valley networking that Wise believes Food Network heard of him and reached out, starting more than a year ago, to get him on “Chopped.”
“I did a lot of events and cooking for people in Aspen. I remember one woman told me, ‘You should be on TV,’ and I just kind of laughed,” Wise said. “I don’t know if it was her connection, but you never know who you’re going to meet in Aspen.”
As for those secret ingredients Wise had to incorporate on the show, it wasn’t the ingredients themselves that proved a challenge, he said, but rather needing to use all of them in one dish.
“And the time constraints,” he added. “It would be announced that there’s two minutes left, and it’d be like, ‘Are you kidding me?'”
Watch Wise under pressure as he goes head-to-head against Moe Cason (Des Moines, Iowa), Stephen Coe (Plymouth, Mass.), and Lee Ann Whippen (Chicago, Ill.) for judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, and Marcus Samuelsson at a special viewing party on Tuesday, August 15 (7–9 p.m.) at Batch in downtown Carbondale.
Updated (August 16, 2017):
In a heated competition, Chef Flip Wise's fate was determined in the final round. Working with birthday cake, Meyer lemons, and lardo from the dessert basket, Wise's spicy chocolate concoction came in a close second to Chef Stephen Coe's dish. The Plymoth, Mass.-based chef took home top honors and will continue on to compete in Grill Masters: Finale Battle, which airs Tuesday, August 29.