We all know that Galveston County is full of great chefs, but who would have guessed they could be so ruthless? A second local chef recently sharpened her knives for “Cutthroat Kitchen,” Food Network’s hit show pitting three chefs against each other to compete for cash and glory.
Dickinson chef Mary Eisenhour Bass appears on “Cutthroat Kitchen” Sunday. The episode first airs at 9 p.m.
Bass, formerly a chef at BLVD Seafood and Haak Winery, will host a viewing party at S.I.N. Lounge, 1828 Strand in Galveston, during the broadcast.
“Cutthroat Kitchen” differs from most cooking shows by openly encouraging the chefs to sabotage the other chefs, creating a high-pressure, chaotic atmosphere that rewards ingenuity, resilience and deviousness as well as culinary skills. Each contestant starts with $25,000 and can decide how much of their cash to spend on building sabotages for their competitors.
“In 2014, one of the producers of ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ contacted me and encouraged me to apply, based on an Instagram photo of some food I’d plated,” Bass said. “Then, when (Texas City chef) Nancy Manlove was on, they asked her for recommendations, and shortly after that, I was on my way to Los Angeles.”
The filming took place over a long weekend.
“We filmed the competition all day Friday, had Saturday and Sunday off for seeing the city, and then filmed the commentary and interviews on Monday,” Bass said.
Bass currently works in a more cooperative environment, teaching in the culinary department at Alvin Community College and offering classes at the Kitchen Chick in Galveston. Her Kitchen Chick classes run the gamut from classical French, including an upcoming class featuring coq au vin and pot de creme, to Cajun and down-home Southern, a particular favorite of hers.
“I started cooking when I was 7 years old, helping my grandmother. Her ministry was to cook for first-time visitors to the church, so we would prepare a huge Southern dinner every Sunday,” Bass said. “There would be roast, or turkeys, or whatever was on sale that week, with all the fixings.”
Bass, a fifth-generation Galvestonian, learned early to cook for restaurant-size gatherings.
“Our immediate family was 30 people, and then with all the visitors from church, cooking Sunday dinner was quite a production. I learned so much from my grandmother,” she said.
She continued to cook in high school.
“Our high school didn’t have a culinary program, but every time there was a spaghetti dinner or pancake breakfast, I’d do the cooking,” she said.
After high school, she attended Galveston College, completing an associate’s degree in culinary arts and meeting her husband, Tim. They now have three children, all of whom like to cook.
Competing on “Cutthroat Kitchen” has whet her appetite for more cooking shows.
“I’m applying to be on ‘Chopped,’” she said. “Meanwhile, I’m happy teaching, and I’m available as a private chef to cook in clients’ homes.”
She is looking forward to viewing the finished and edited version of her “Cutthroat Kitchen” episode, and expects to have plenty to say about it.
“I’ll be doing live commentary on social media, so if you can’t come to the viewing party, you can follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for behind-the-scenes updates.”