Jamaican Jerk “Throwdown” champion Nigel Spence, owner of Ripe Kitchen and Bar in Mount Vernon, New York will be among the participants on the Food Network’s new series Chopped which will air on March 31 at 10 pm, April 1 at 1 am and April 12 at 10 pm. All times are Eastern.
The series, hosted by Ted Allen of Food Detectives fame, challenges four up-and-coming chefs to turn a selection of everyday ingredients into an extraordinary three-course meal. After each course, one contestant will get “chopped” with the last person standing claiming victory. Each week, a rotating panel of culinary elite judges including Alex Guarnaschelli, Aaron Sanchez, and Geoffrey Zakarian will select the winner whose dishes are most appealing and award the $10,000 prize money.
The new series is billed as a way of unearthing new talent and a clever way to discover the future “Kings and Queens of the Kitchen”.
Chef Nigel Spence who welcomed the opportunity to showcase his skills to a varied and diverse audience is delighted to be included among the best in the culinary world, noting that he will continue to work hard to represent his Jamaican/Caribbean background. “This series not only pits the best chefs in the culinary world against each other but in addition asks them to use seemingly discordant ingredients in one dish under extremely tight time constraints, in this case chocolate, mussels and figs – all of which adds to the excitement of the show and degree of difficulty for the competitors.”
In wishing Chef Spence all the best, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism John Lynch stated, “The Jamaica Tourist Board is pleased that once again the island’s strength in the area of cuisine will be highlighted and I am confident he will proudly represent the Jamaica brand.”
Spence who also serves as a Culinary Ambassador for the Jamaica Tourist Board attributes his success to date to not just talent, but hard work, commitment and perseverance.
Chef Spence started small from a road side “jerk shack” in Jamaica that helped put him through school. He is now executive chef and owner of suburban New York Ripe Kitchen & Bar in Mount Vernon, New York.
About Nigel Spence, Executive Chef Ripe Kitchen and Bar
Chef Spence, a Culinary Institute of America alumnus hails from Kingston, Jamaica. Ripe is Mr. Spence’s first entrepreneurial endeavor outside of a road side “jerk shack” that helped put him through school.
As part of CIA’s intense training program, Nigel interned at the Television Food Network. Upon graduation, Nigel was asked to stay on at the network. TVFN afforded Nigel the opportunity to work with culinary luminaries such as Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali and Bobby Flay.