It’s been a big year for acclaimed local chef Stephan Bogardus.
In January, he left Southold’s North Fork Table & Inn after a long and important tenure in its kitchen. In February, he joined the team at Greenport’s the Halyard as the restaurant’s new executive chef. Later this year, he will wed his equally impressive longtime love, Allegra Borghese, following their December 2018 engagement. And as if all of that weren’t enough: Borgardus will compete on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay in an episode airing this Thursday, May 2, at 10:00 p.m.
“About a year ago, at North Fork Table, Helen Patrikis [who heads the restaurant’s PR] was trying to make a big push at national media for us,” says Bogardus. “So we got on the Today Show, Restaurant Hunter, Mike Colameco’s Real Food, and more, just trying to do more TV stuff to ramp up our platform. After doing Chopped, though, I wasn’t super keen on doing more Food Network stuff; I wanted to pivot more into documentaries.”
This did not deter Beat Bobby Flay‘s executive producer, Kim Martin. She reached out to Bogardus anyway and the rest, as they say, is history.
“She reached out to me in March of last year,” says Bogardus. “And you know how the month of March is on the North Fork. There’s no fishing season. There’s no hunting season. There’s no one really to feed. It’s the dark, dreary time of the year. So I said yes and we filmed last April.”
For those unfamiliar with Beat Bobby Flay, each episode follows the same recipe: In the first round, two contestants compete against each other, cooking for 20 minutes using an ingredient chosen by Flay. On Thursday, May 2, these two contestants will be Bogardus and Delaware-based chef Bill Clifton. Two guests—often celebrity chefs or friends of Flay—then determine who cooked the better dish. The winner then faces Flay in the second round, during which the winning contestant chooses a dish for both himself and Flay to cook over the course of the following 45 minutes. The final winner is chosen by the judges in a blind taste test.
“It was a really cool experience,” says Bogardus. “[My fellow contestant] Bill Clifton worked with Thomas Keller for a long time, so that was cool. The industry is so small—everyone knows someone or has a mutual friend—so it felt more like Bill and I were a couple of old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while rather than competitors.”
That’s not to say, of course, that Bogardus didn’t bring a hefty dose of competition to the set. Consistently ranked among Long Island’s most celebrated chefs, Bogardus is undeniably gifted—but does that mean he beat Bobby Flay?
“Unfortunately you gotta tune in,” laughs Bogardus. “I can’t say anything more just yet.”
Stephan Bogardus will appear on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay on Thursday, May 2, and 10:00 p.m.