It all came down to the shrimp and grits.
After surviving two rounds on the Food Network show “Guy’s Grocery Games,” Landrum chef Sarah McClure decided to make shrimp and grits, only to find out that her competitor was doing the same thing.
“It was not planned in any way shape or form,” says McClure, a fourth-generation restaurateur who owns Southside Smokehouse. “We just came up with that all on our own.”
“Guy’s Grocery Games” features celebrity chef Guy Fieri (“Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”), who sends four chefs running through the aisles of a TV studio grocery store in a fast-paced, high-stakes cooking competition.
According to the show’s website, the “chefs are hit by real-world challenges like finding workarounds when all the essential ingredients are suddenly ‘out of stock’ or having to create a masterpiece when you can only cook with ‘five items or less’ or on a $10 budget.”
And there’s a big incentive to win. The last chef standing has the chance to take home up to $20,000.
Producers first got in touch with McClure to see if she wanted to be on the show in 2018. After a series of phone and video interviews, McClure was invited to come to Santa Rosa, California, for the competition in February.
Filming took 12 hours and led to an hour-long episode called “The Ultimate Grocery List,” which aired on Sept. 9. Contestants were each given a grocery list of seven items (a can of soup, an apple, a pickled vegetable, ground beef, frozen potatoes, an item that costs $4.99 and milk from a certain aisle), which had to be used over the course of three rounds.
“It’s sort of like all the things you would have to think of as a cook. You’re trying to make it attractive for television. You’re trying to make it taste good for the judges. You’re trying to do it fast, and you’re trying to meet the demands of the particular assignment,” McClure says.
Her pork tenderloin and chorizo tacos with pickled sprouts and apple slaw were a big hit with the judges in the first round, where the chefs had to whip up a quick weeknight dinner.
“It was good to do something that I felt really strong about in the first round that kind of gave me confidence through the rest of the rounds,” McClure says.
And while she didn’t win the final round, McClure says she loved the experience.
“Hopefully, they’ll invite me back again someday — or who knows, I might get to be on another show,” she says.