Local grill master to compete on ‘Chopped Grill Masters’

Episode airs Aug. 8 at 10 p.m. on Food Network

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Host Ted Allen checks in on chef Jeff Bannister mid-challenge on "Chopped Grill Masters" | photo provided by Food Network

Greenville grilling expert Jeff Bannister makes his “Chopped Grill Masters” debut Aug. 8 at 10 p.m. on Food Network. The grill master battled it out against three other masters from around the country in the fast-paced reality cooking show.

“I got my adventure,” says Bannister, who has also appeared on Travel Channel’s “American Grilled,” The Weather Channel’s “Fat Guys in the Woods,” and “Anthony Eats America” web series.

Bannister, a self-taught grill master who is currently a host at The Nose Dive, applied for “Chopped” two years before he was accepted. He had considered not doing any more TV when he was invited to compete on “Chopped Grill Masters.”

“When you have an opportunity, you take it,” Bannister says.

The winner from each heat of the five-part tournament airing Aug. 1, 8, 15, and 22 earns a spot in the grand finale, Aug. 29, where they will compete for the grand prize of $50,000 and a Napa Valley dream vacation. Bannister’s lips are sealed about the outcome.

Hosted by Ted Allen and judged by Scott Conant, Tiffani Faison, and Marc Murphy, the Aug. 8 episode features Bannister, Ro Daniel (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Richard Fergola (Gardner, Kan.), and Joe Johnson (Los Angeles, Calif.) competing over three rounds — appetizer, entree, and dessert — as they showcase their skills with only charcoal and propane grills and a smoker. The goal is to create dishes using the mystery basket of ingredients to impress the judges, while also battling the outdoor elements.

Bannister says the biggest challenge of the taping was the time. Contestants are prohibited from wearing watches and cannot view the countdown clock. If they need a time stamp, they have to yell for it.

Halls Chophouse Greenville is hosting a watch party starting at 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 8.

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