In the inaugural episode of Food Network’s “Beachside Brawl” Sunday night, some of the country’s top chefs competed to answer the question of which coast does summer food the best: East vs. West.
One face may have looked familiar in the show’s debut, as Grand Marlin chef Edward Lordman filled one of the coveted East Coast spots in the six-week series. The chefs are competing for a beach house getaway of their choice, anywhere in the world, up to $25,000 and the title of “Best of the Beach.”
In a slow-motion walk-up, Lordman was introduced by East Coast team captain and professional chef Tiffani Faison who explained why he was hand-picked for the series.
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“Next, we’ve got Ed: culinary assassin,” Faison said on the show of Lordman. “Our Pensacola guy. So a little bit of like Flora-Bama. So beach vibes, but Southern soul.”
In the show’s first challenge, titled “Boardwalk Bites,” chefs were tasked with making next-level versions of the tradition boardwalk fare live from Redondo Pier, in Redondo Beach, California.
The chefs were tasked to put their take on the beloved boardwalk flavors, like corn dogs, French fries and ice cream, and work with their team to assemble an elevated boardwalk menu. Each dish was not only be tasted by the judges, but 50 random people passing by on the pier.
The dishes were broken up into five categories with one chef tackling each, including fried, sweet, cheesy, in a bun and on a stick. Even though the tasks were divided up, chefs were instructed to bring the flavors together.
“The entire menu needs to feel cohesive, and most important, needs to represent your coast,” said “Beachside Brawl” host Antonia Lofaso.
Lordman was quick to claim the “sweet” category, making his own spin on Florida’s signature dessert, the Key lime pie. But he served it deconstructed.
“What I do is I start on the bottom with a little bit of graham cracker crumb. Then, instead of a traditional custard, I’m going to take Key lime mascarpone, sugar, heavy cream, I’m going to make a nice whipped, quick mousse,” Lordman explained while making the dish.
Judges praised Lordman for his dessert, but questioned whether the dish was too fancy for the challenge.
“For me, this has got a new spin on a really good, old-fashioned classic,” said guest judge and “Carnival Eats” host Noah Cappe.
“Flavors are phenomenal. Is it a little too precious for the boardwalk? Probably,” Lofaso added.
Ultimately, the West Coast team won the round, leaving one East Coast chef at risk of elimination and forced to cook for survival. Although Lordman was on the losing team, his dish guaranteed his safety and advancement to the next round.
Lordman explained how much winning the show would mean to him.
“I do not leave the East Coast. Not only have I never been to the West Coast — this my first time on a plane,” Lordman said on the show. “So, to win a dream vacation to a place that I’ve always wanted to visit is just the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Tune in at 9 pm Sunday on the Food Network or discovery+ to see if Lordman advances.