Atlanta lesbian chefs sharpen knives on reality TV


‘Chopped’ party at Sauced
Tuesday, Nov. 20
Party starts at 8 p.m., Show airs at 10 p.m.
$20 includes meals and cocktails
753 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307

“I had to sign an arms-length confidentiality agreement,” Pell explains.

The show was filmed in one day in February in New York after a casting call in Atlanta.

On Nov. 27, another famous gay Atlanta chef, Virginia Willis, appears on “Chopped.” Willis is author of the acclaimed cookbook, “Bon Appétit, Y’all! Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking” as well as the popular “Basic to Brilliant, Y’all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress Them Up for Company.”

Cooking on hyperdrive

While Pell can’t comment on what mystery ingredients she was forced to cook, she can say one thing is for sure: the speed and urgency you see on TV is exactly what it is like in the “Chopped” kitchen.

“It was fast and furious,” Pell says. “It was like I was on a spaceship on hyperdrive. I really was like, ‘Oh, my god.’ It’s really as stressful as you see on TV. It keeps you on the edge of your seat.”

Ted Allen was the perfect host, Pell says.

“He’s so awesome. He’s very handsome and had good shoes. He was a complete professional. He is clever and smart and handsome,” Pell coos.

Pell says she tried to prepare for the show by watching hours and hours of “Chopped” to see all the different kinds of ingredients that are thrown at the chefs.

“I watched the show non-stop, doing my homework. I was just ready for them to put Beluga whale on the table,” Pell says, laughing.

She wanted to compete for the money and to bring good publicity to Sauced. All the chefs she competed against were very nice because in the end they all want the same thing.

“We’re all cooks so we’re all on kind of the same team,” Pell says.

Excited and flattered to be on the show, Pell is throwing a party for everyone to come and watch her.

The outdoor party on Nov. 20 at Sauced will include tasty bites from her restaurant as well as from chefs from local restaurants The Spotted Trotter, Fox Brother’s BBQ, Palookaville, Rathbun’s, Proof and Provision, and Taria Camerino of The Optimist. Tiffanie Barriere, who worked her mixologist magic for Barack Obama when he was in Atlanta, will serve up liquid goodness at the party as well. DJs Osmose and Ree de la Vega spin.

“We roll with a good community of chefs,” Pell says. “I love throwing a party. I’m not one who toots her own horn, but I’m really flattered I can share this.”

Of course, Pell has no idea what will be shown on the small screen and whether she will “make a buffoon” of herself or come off as cool and slick as she is in her own kitchens, she says.

“All in all, I hope I don’t throw up,” she jokes.


Top photo: Atlanta chef Ria Pell appears on the Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Nov. 20. (Publicity photo)