Local Chef Duskie Estes has won her spot on the Next Iron Chef, Road to Redemption, which debuts on the Food Network Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.
Estes was one of four chefs to pre-compete in a series of webisodes for the coveted tenth spot on this season’s competition, which brings back returning chefs who’ve lost in previous seasons. Estes competed in Season 3, but lost her bid for glory after four several episodes.
BiteClub caught up with Estes to see how she’s faring…
Q: So you’re on your way back to becoming an Iron Chef, what’s the hardest part of the Road to Redemption?
A. It is the same this time as last; being away from my family and businesses and farm for so long is hard. Being judged meanly to make good TV is hard to stand up to. Being good at what you do in your restaurant is irrelevant. You are not in charge of the challenge, the ingredients (which are utmost to me), or the time.
Q: Which chef are you most worried about competing against?
A. I think Elizabeth (Falkner) deserved it last time. She is fierce. But you cant really think about them. You just have to put your head down and cook.
Q: You made no bones about your kerfuffle with Alton Brown the first time round. How’s it going this time?
A: Alton and I definitely continue to jab at each other. I think he likes it. It’s the same banter in kitchens during service. But he does know how to get under my skin.
Q. What’s the funniest thing about competing/backstage that you can tell your fans? What’s an inside scoop we might not know about on the set?
A. Each episode takes at least 3 long days to shoot. There is a lot of down time hanging out and no good food. The best part of it for me is the relationships you make with the other chefs.
Q. What will you do differently this time around?
A. Plate to the judges sensibility rather than my own and not worry about seasonality, which is a driving force behind my food style. They don’t care about seasonality at all. I was stubborn last time to hold onto my style. They want to see certain things. I will try to walk the line of being myself and giving the judges what they want.