Jean-Louis Gerin is branching out into fast food.
And he's not talking french fries.
Three years removed from being named the top French master chef in North America, Greenwich's resident bon vivant will show his mettle in the kitchen at 10 p.m. Tuesday on the Food Network series "Chopped."
The popular show pits four chefs against each other in a rapid-fire cooking competition using mystery ingredients.
So much for pre-ordering creme brulee at the beginning of the meal.
The contestants have 80 minutes to whip up a three-course meal with only the food staples contained in a basket given to them at the beginning of the show.
"I've been asked to be on TV many, many times. I've always refused," Gerin told Greenwich Time on Monday. "I'm not an entertainer chef. I'm a working chef, which is two different jobs."
Gerin, the owner of the highly rated Restaurant Jean-Louis on Lewis Street, couldn't resist the challenge.
"I decided to do `Chopped' because this is a challenge against yourself," Gerin said. "It's a basket and your ability to think quickly and to cook even more quickly."
Gerin taped the show last year and is precluded from discussing the outcome. But don't expect Gerin to go all Guy Fieri in his prime-time debut,
"As I told the `Chopped' crew, I'm probably the only chef you don't want on your show," Gerin said. "I'm 52. I don't have a tattoo. I don't have a pony tail."
The married father of two from Greenwich will fittingly watch the episode at his restaurant, where Gerin is hosting a three-course meal viewing party for $59 per person that includes dessert and an open bar. The dinner is already sold out.
Gerin invited Olivier de St. Martin, a chef friend from Philadelphia and 2011 "Chopped" champion, to wage a similar culinary tete-a-tete during the viewing party at the restaurant.
The first and second courses, both of which are set, will be a diced vegetable and saffron soup with mussels and a fish souffle with a lobster bisque.
The chefs will be responsible for making the third course of the meal from four mystery ingredients, and the restaurant patrons will determine the winner.
Bon Ton Fish Market on Bruce Park Avenue will supply the main ingredient.
"He's getting scallops in the shell, New Bedford (Mass.) sea scallops," said Tony Norado, the longtime seafood purveyor. "He's going to hand shuck them. He's going to play with them. That's for sure. Normally they don't come that way."
Chef and supplier go way back, with Norado making daily deliveries of fresh catch to the restaurant.
"Jean-Louis is the best," Norado said.
A Food Network producer from Manhattan will supply the second mystery ingredient.
Each chef will then get to choose one ingredient.
"Processed food is an enemy to me," Gerin said.
Asked if that includes Spam, Gerin admitted that just the mention of the canned mystery meat strikes fear in his heart.
"I'm cooked, I mean, I'm chopped," Gerin said.
For dessert, there will be a trio of apple tart, sugarless sorbets and chocolate mousse.
There's even a bit of mystery to the libations Tuesday night should there be a toast.
"If I lose, it's beer. If I win, it's champagne," Gerin said.
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