ASHLAND – A college girl from Ashland who teamed up with her grandmother to appear on the “Top Chef Family Style” reality show may not have had the cake, but she concocted some delicious memories.
Brooke Nathanson, 13, and her grandmother Carol Weiss, 75, faced a dozen other pairs from across the country on the Peacock Network show. The two were sent home after Brooke started to feel bad during the third episode aired Thursday.
The show premiered on September 9 with 13 pairs of young chefs accompanied by a family member. By Thursday, the cast had fallen to 11 pairs, all competing for a grand prize of $ 50,000.
The episode featured contestants preparing plant-based dishes for the judges, including Grammy-winning singer Meghan Trainor, acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson and Los Angeles Rams linebacker Kenny Young.
Contestants were tasked not only with preparing food for themselves, but for the rest of the Rams’ draft class that day – plus 50 National Football League fans.
Previous coverage:‘It Was Crazy’: Teen Ashland Teams Up With His Grandmother On ‘Top Chef Family Style’
Actress and social media personality Tabitha Brown, known for her videos on vegan cooking, was the guest judge for this tour, which took place outside on a hot summer day with grills and fryers sizzling around competitors.
“I don’t know anything about plant life,” Brooke joked to the cameras, who was 12 at the time of filming.
“It will be in our memories for a lifetime”
In the first round, the pairs were tasked with preparing an appetizer. Brooke and Weiss decided to make gazpacho, Brooke’s dad’s favorite dish. Specifically, the pair produced gazpacho shooters with avocado and crotons.
Of the six favorite dishes selected by the judges, theirs was not announced, which sent them to the Hail Mary tour where they had a chance to redeem themselves by making a plant-based grilled dish.
However, at the start of the tour, Brooke began to turn “white as a ghost,” Weiss said on the show. Feeling weak, Brooke was taken to a nearby awning to cool off and was told she was probably dehydrated.
From there she was taken to be evaluated while the other contestants continued to cook. For this reason, the judges sent the couple home that day without allowing them to return to prepare their meal.
The Chiefs with the lowest score in this round were spared from returning home due to the judges’ decision.
When the contestants returned to the Main Zone that day, Brooke and Weiss joined the group for the last time to say goodbye. Brooke also told the group that she was feeling a lot better – she had been overheated, she said.
âPushing me through this competition for Brooke has truly been a joy – it will be remembered for a lifetime,â Weiss said at the end of the episode, in tears.
Not only was that day sizzling at around 100 degrees, the added heat from the blazing grills nearby didn’t help, Brooke said in a recent interview.
âI’m really glad I didn’t get fired for my cooking,â said Brooke, an eighth-grade student at Ashland Middle School. “But I think there is more for me in the future.”
Her favorite dish to make on the show was the Lemon Pistachio Biscotti, which she made in the second episode.
During the second episode knockout round, contestants were tasked with creating a luxurious dish showcasing an uplifting premium ingredient.
Brooke and Weiss made a chilled lemon mousse with candied pistachios, using a recipe Weiss has been making for 30 years.
Guest judges for this round included Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family” and two Michelin star chef Josiah Citrin. Ferguson said he often found the biscotti difficult to prepare, but praised the moistness of the pistachio biscotti.
âI thought, ‘It would be better if this was the best cookie ever,’ and it was! Meghan Trainor said after taking a bite. Brooke and Weiss were also the only pair making dessert on this tour.
Contestants don’t know how the judges will like their meal until the completed episodes air, Brooke said. Watching their reactions on her TV screen was surreal, she said.
The most difficult dish to cook on the show was the plant-based meal because she usually cooks with a lot of meats, she said.
Other dishes the couple made on the show included steak mashed potatoes with fried onion strings, which was a challenge to create a dish featuring their favorite culinary combination.
For the first elimination challenge, they were asked to turn a favorite family recipe into a five-star dish. Brooke and Weiss made stuffed shrimp, a recipe from Weiss’ mother, with orzo and mango and apricot sauce – which Meghan Trainor says added more flavor to the dish.
Being on the show was a source of trust
Through it all, being on the reality show was a source of trust, said Brooke, who dreams of becoming a professional chef when she’s older. She even currently runs her own online business called B Sweet by Brooke, where she bakes decadent cakes and other treats.
âI learned a lot about cooking and how to operate the television, and I gained a lot of self-confidence,â she said. “I fell in love with it.”
Since the show, she always stays in touch with the other contestants, and most importantly has become a close friend of Eva Kopelman, a 14-year-old from Long Island, New York, who still participates in the show with her mother. , Jenn.
While Brooke may no longer serve up culinary creations on the reality show, you can still check out what she’s up to by following @officialchefbrooke on Instagram or visiting bsweetbybrooke.com to purchase one of her cakes.