Set your DVRs, folks: Dallas girl Angela George is competing on the new Food Network show All-Star Academy, and she’s ready to show America what goes on in her kitchen.
If you’re scratching your head, wondering why you haven’t heard of George in association with any local restaurant, that’s because All-Star Academy features talented home cooks as opposed to professionals. Ten contestants face rigorous kitchen challenges over the course of eight episodes, and they get help from celebrity chef mentors such as Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli and Curtis Stone — whose reputations are also on the line. The grand prize: $50,000.
“All of the mentors were so amazing,” says George, creative director and partner of By George and one of the Two Hot Potatoes. “I was surprised how personable each of them was. But most important, I have a newfound confidence in my technique and creativity in the kitchen.”
George says she’s always had a passion for all things food, so when a casting director called her out of the blue, she knew she couldn’t turn down the opportunity. She wowed the Food Network scouts with a dish she calls “salty dog oysters,” which has oysters from TJ’s Seafood Market and micro greens from Tom Spicer’s garden, topped with grapefruit “caviar” and Spicer’s shiso leaf.
This Dallasite, who loves to cook Italian meatballs and counts a “big, juicy, perfect steak” among her favorite foods, has no professional training, and that’s precisely the point of the show. All-Star Academy can discover new talent while building up each contestant’s repertoire.
“The techniques and chef-hacks I learned from not only the mentors, but also my fellow contestants, are countless,” says George, the only Texan on the show. “We were literally thrown into the fire when they presented us with the first challenge.
“We had to think quick, trust in what we know, and execute a perfect dish for these legendary chefs. So you know, no pressure.”