GRAND HAVEN — Rachelle Murphy loves to cook, and she loves to compete.

Those two passions will come to a head Thursday, when the Grand Haven native will appear on the popular Food Network show “Beat Bobby Flay.”

The episode, titled “Ciao Ciao, Bobby!” was actually filmed 10 months ago, but it will air on Food Network at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 12 a.m. Friday, May 17, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 19.

Murphy, a 2017 graduate of Grand Haven High School, said the experience was “a lot of fun.”

“I had to go through the interview process, and it’s pretty intense — 5-6 rounds of interviews over Skype, because they really want to get to know your personality, make sure you’re not a dull person on TV,” she said. “They really try to dig at you and ask a lot of questions, to see how you handle the pressure.”

Grand Haven native Rachelle Murphy will soon appear on “Beat Bobby Flay."

Grand Haven native Rachelle Murphy will soon appear on “Beat Bobby Flay.”

Murphy flew out to New York, where she had a chance to meet not one, but two of her longtime idols.

“I had never met Bobby before,” she said. “Growing up, I always watched Food Network, and ‘Beat Bobby Flay’ is a show I always watched. Being on the show was a fun full-circle moment. It was cool to meet him in person, and get to talk to him.

“The judges were Alex Guarnaschelli and Gabriele Bertaccini. Alex is one of the people I always looked up to on the Food Network, so that was very intimidating.”

“Beat Bobby Flay” pits two chefs against each other, using a “secret ingredient” chosen by Flay. They have 20 minutes to create a dish, which is then judged, with one of the two advancing to face off against Flay in the finals. The winner gets to choose his or her own specialty dish to prepare in the final.

Murphy isn’t allowed to speak about any details of the show.

“It’s been hard to keep a secret,” she said.

The Italian-themed episode should play right into Murphy’s wheelhouse.

After graduating from Grand Haven, where she studied culinary arts at the Careerline Tech Center, she attended the Culinary Institute of Michigan.

“That’s where I really grew my love for cooking and competition,” she said. “I had some really great instructors who pushed me outside my comfort zone. I attribute a lot of what I’ve accomplished today to them, and how much faith they had in me.”

After that, she flew to Italy, where she spent four months doing an internship at various restaurants.

“I learned all things pasta — pasta has always been one of my biggest passions,” Murphy said. “It was really cool to be able to do something like that.”

She returned to West Michigan, and at just 20 years old, was named the executive chef at Fuel Bar and Refuge in Spring Lake. After a few years at Fuel, Murphy moved to Seattle, then to her current home in Cleveland.

There, she served as the executive chef and partner at Rood for three years, before a recent move to a new venture as the culinary director for Seasoned Brands, a hospitality group that owns more than 40 restaurants.

“I oversee all of those, coming up with new menu ideas, overseeing food quality, cleanliness, all that fun stuff,” Murphy said.

Subscribe: Get unlimited access to our local coverage

While she’s excited for her new role with Seasoned Brands, she’s also keeping an eye on the future.

“I’ve always said that by the time I’m 30, I want to have a restaurant in downtown Grand Haven, right on the main strip,” she said. “It’s something I’ve talked about my entire life. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be back there serving up some great food.”

Her appearance on “Beat Bobby Flay” is actually the third time Murphy will appear on a Food Network show.

In 2020, she was a contestant on another food competition show featuring one of Food Network’s biggest stars, “Guy’s Grocery Games,” hosted by Guy Fieri.

“That was fun — I was just a baby, only 19 when I went on that show,” Murphy said. “And I was the first one to get voted out. I was so sad. It was a really good learning experience for me as a competitor. To learn and to grow from that was really eye-opening. Everyone I went up against was 5-6 years older than me, and that makes a big difference in the food industry.”

In 2022, she appeared on an episode of “Food Paradise,” which visited the restaurant where Murphy worked at the time.

This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: West Michigan native to compete on ‘Beat Bobby Flay’

2024 © Network Today. All Rights Reserved.