Chef Jennifer Booker had a star-turn on reality television when she appeared Sunday on an episode of Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen .
The Atlanta-based chef, owner of the catering company Your Resident Gourmet . and author of “Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes With a French Accent” (Pelican Publishing Co., $26.95) took second place in the competition which involved pineapples, stir fry and candy. But she says, they don't call it Cutthroat Kitchen for nothing.
"I had a blast filming the show," said Booker by phone on Monday. "Everyone was super nice, but the craziness is real."
Booker was a fan of the show and had watched in the past before becoming a contestant. She would watch the crazy sabotages and plan how she would deal with them, but of course, when it was her turn for the challenge, the game plans went out the window.
In round one, Booker had the challenge of cooking a Hawaiian pizza -- in a pineapple. She knew she needed to at least grab dough, cheese and pineapple from the pantry. On her first attempt, she tried to cook the dough inside the pineapple with a blowtorch. Later, she opted to stretch the dough across the opening of the pineapple and was successful.
In round two, Booker made an ramen bowl but added too much red pepper flakes. She added broth to soften it a bit, which resulted in too much broth in the bowl according to the judge.
For the final dessert round, Booker had been practicing and ganache recipe. "I thought if anything, I can do chocolate," she said. But then she had to make the chocolate on the bar. Her candy was delicious -- the best dessert ever on the show even, according to the judge -- but it was too soft to pick up, so technically it wasn’t a bar.
It was a wild experience, but Booker said she is hooked.
"It makes you think outside of the box. The pineapple -- I never would have thought of that sitting around my couch."
Booker is currently working on her second cookbook, a currently untitled guide to cooking meals that use the main ingredient in a second meal. She is also heading out on a culinary tour of Paris for her previous book in October.
But the adrenaline junkie admits, she likes the energy of reality television.