Escanaba chef wins ‘Chopped’ style culinary competition


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ESCANABA — Chef’s from all over Upper Michigan met in Escanaba for a little friendly competition…’Chopped Style’.

Similar to the TV show, the competition started with four chef’s, and by process of elimination, boiled down to only two.

Nathan Mileski, event coordinator as well as the Executive Chef at NMU, explained, “So the final round that’s about to come up, they don’t know it yet, but they have fruity rice krispy treats, cinnamon sugar, maple sugar, some onion buns, and passion fruit and kumquats.”

With 30 minutes on the clock, they had to use all of the surprise ingredients to make their final dish.

Robin Holmes was one of the finalists, who is a Chef at Pacino’s Food & Spirits, and explained what he had created;  “With the onion roll, I rolled out the bottom kind of like a tortilla. Then I stuffed it with the pebble krispy cereal I think it was. So I just started mixing things together until they tasted good.”

John Romps, the chef at the Stonehouse Restaurant in Escanaba, told Local 3, “I ended up making like a bread pudding with the onion kaiser and the fruity pebbles, and then I pan fried that with a citrus creme and glaze and a fresh fruit salsa.”

Once their time was up, judges revealed who took second place, “And second place will be….Chef Robin Holmes.”

The judges let me in on a taste of what the contestants had whipped up. And as it turns out, onion buns CAN taste good as a dessert.

Eric Juchemich, one of three judges, explained, “With these two, being able to transform an onion bun into a dessert and make it work, was pretty interesting.”

After beating the reigning champ of 9 years, Chef Johnny couldn’t help but to put his newly earned title to good use.

Romps said, “This is the first year that I’ve taken first place. I seem to always be runner-up to Chef Robin. And so it’s nice to beat him for once, have some bragging rights.”


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