Local OCMD Chef to Star in Food Network’s, Cutthroat Kitchen, Sunday, August 17
Dead Freddies Island Grill Chef Mitch Cook is probably one of the most modest people you’ll ever come across. It’s not about the fame, fortune or pride for him… it’s about authentic, consistent and quality food for this Ocean City local. “I started working in restaurants when I was only 12 years old, busing and doing whatever I could to help out,” remembers Cook. “It’s just kind of in my blood.”
So when his girlfriend secretly entered him into a contest to be featured on the Food Networks popular cooking show, Cutthroat Kitchen… it took him completely by surprise. “I received a call one day and the area code said Los Angeles, California, they said they received my application and I had been accepted,” laughed Cook. “I didn’t even know what to say.”
If you haven’t seen Cutthroat Kitchen before, to describe it as ‘intense’ would be an understatement. It features four chefs, each challenged to cook gourmet dishes before being judged by a guest celebrity (usually an esteemed chef). Sounds like all the other shows right? Except it’s not – each chef is given $25,000 at the start of the show before host Alton Brown introduces auctions in which the competing chefs can purchase opportunities to sabotage their competitors or benefit themselves.
Cook has been living in our resort area for quite a while, working in a variety of local restaurants before finding what he feels is the perfect fit at Dead Freddie’s. He managed Southside Deli in West Ocean City for 7 years, then from there went to Fager’s Island, working in the lite fare kitchen cooking his personal favorite… seafood. From there he was moved into Fager’s fine dining kitchen where he was promoted to sous chef, all the while attending school full time. Eight months ago Cook decided to make the move to Dead Freddie’s after feeling like it was a place where he had the opportunity to grow as a Chef. Cook has had much success at Dead Freddie’s, creating nightly specials and bringing a great vibe to the kitchen, so when he got the call to be on Cutthroat Kitchen, it was just another notch in his belt. (Although you’d never hear him admit it.) “They took care of absolutely everything, from the flight to the accommodations… it was really an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Cook.
As great as the opportunity was, Cook acknowledged how tiring, time consuming and difficult the competition was. “We filmed all day, from 6AM to 6PM,” said Cook. “We were kept in separate rooms where we couldn’t see anything, it wasn’t always fun.” What was most surprising though? The layout. “The layout was insane, if you’ve watched shows on Food Network before you expect something totally different,” said Cook. “It was so small, eerily quiet and thrown together.” When asked if he would participate in another cooking competition, after much hesitation, Cook stated diplomatically that he would consider competing in a different show, one not so intense.
If there’s one thing that Mitch Cook brought back to the Dead Freddie’s kitchen it’s the underlying theme that, “anything is possible… literally anything.” Professionally, Cook was able to hone his skills from the experience to effectively work even faster behind the line during those 3-hour summer night waits at the restaurant.
So when can you see our local celebrity on TV?!? Cook’s episode will air on the Food Network on Sunday, August 17th at 10pm. What’s more, Dead Freddies will be celebrating with a Viewing Party on Sunday night, which will include chef-inspired specials all evening long.