Alaskan to compete in 'Top Chef' reality television competition
Alaska may be the location for several reality shows, but there's a first for the 49th state in one of the hottest cooking competitions on television.
For the first time ever, an Alaskan is competing on Bravo's "Top Chef."
Representing Alaska in the competition show's 15th season is Laura Cole, owner and executive chef at 229 Parks, a restaurant near Denali.
"I change my menu every day," Cole said in the kitchen of her restaurant Wednesday.
Cole prides herself on making dishes featuring organic and locally-sourced ingredients.
"We are having some Alaskan roasted carrots with a little bit of pickled garlic, some Alaskan smashed potatoes and a reindeer ragout," she said of a re-creation of a similar popular summer dish she serves at her restaurant.
"Every dollar you spend in the state to a local state organization, stays in the state and it helps make the state stronger and better able to secure its food future," she said.
Cole said she rarely relies on recipes and likes to layer flavors into her meals. "I like pushing the flavor palette a little bit."
Earlier this year, Cole beat out thousands of hopefuls looking to compete on Bravo's "Top Chef," a reality-based show putting chefs from across the country in a kitchen to compete in challenges each week.
"I'm proud of this state. I'm proud of who we are and proud of everything we have to offer and it was really nice to kind of put it on a national stage with national recognition. I was honored," Cole said.
Cole said the seven-week filming schedule was tough, but it reignited her love for home and her business. "It gave me so much clarity to the vision that I want to see for this restaurant and really invoking a tone to what Alaska cuisine should be."
While the Chef remained tight-lipped on exactly how far she goes in the competition, she said there are no plans to trade in Alaska's Interior for Hollywood in the future.
"Showcasing Alaska throughout other communities in the Lower 48 would be great but this is my heart and home and I can't imagine ever doing anything else other than this restaurant, in the summer times for sure."
"Top Chef" premiers on December 7 on the Bravo network.