Welsch gives hollywood a taste of wheeling news, sports, jobs – weirton daily times apple cider vinegar health benefits weight loss

WINNER — matt welsch, owner of the vagabond kitchen in downtown wheeling, basks in the glory of winning a chefs’ competition on the food network show, “guy’s grocery games.” welsch earned $20,000 in a shopping spree segment at the conclusion of the show, which aired wednesday night. — scott mccloskey

WHEELING — after winning a national chefs’ competition on the food network, vagabond kitchen owner matt welsch plans “to keep putting wheeling on the map and turn around negative stereotypes for west virginia.”

Welsch, who calls himself the vagabond chef, captured a cooking title on “guy’s grocery games,” a television show hosted by celebrity chef guy fieri. Welsch’s winning episode aired wednesday night on the food network.

By besting three other chefs in the “guy’s grocery games” competition, welsch earned the right to participate in a shopping spree in which he had to identify food items by clues given by fieri and then find those items in the grocery store’s aisles.West virginia


he managed to guess correctly and locate all five items with 15 seconds to spare in the timed challenge. For his efforts, welsch won a total of $20,000, with each item worth $4,000.

Ironically, the cook-off itself didn’t guarantee any prize money for the winner. The monetary reward was “all in the shopping spree in the end,” he said. “I could have won the competition and not won anything.”

Welsch went to southern california for the show’s taping a couple of months ago, but had to keep his triumph a secret. He said thursday, “it was extremely difficult. I didn’t tell a soul. If I had told one person, I’d have had to tell other people. It would have been too difficult.”

Welsch held a viewing party at his downtown wheeling restaurant for patrons to watch the show as it was broadcast wednesday night. “people were cheering like it was a sports competition,” he said.

At the start of the episode, welsch and three other chefs — hailing from los angeles, atlanta and new york city — entered the show’s store and were given $40 each to purchase the food they would need to prepare two signature dishes during the timed contest.Food network

For the first challenge, the chefs were instructed to prepare a decadent dish of their choosing. Welsch prepared “adult mac and cheese,” which he said is very similar to a selection on the vagabond kitchen’s dinner menu.

After the chefs from atlanta and new york city were eliminated, welsch and the los angeles chef advanced to the final challenge. They were instructed to prepare an upscale version of a food representative of their home region, in what the celebrity chef judges dubbed as a battle between “west coast and west virginia.”

Welsch chose to create a variation on this area’s meat and potatoes tradition. He prepared a pork entree served atop smashed potatoes and accompanied by a medley of green beans, portobello mushrooms and roasted red peppers. To accent the dish, he placed grilled apple slices on the pork.

The pork dish is “a standard on the menu” at the vagabond kitchen, he said, adding, “it’s slightly different than what I did on the show, but pretty close.”

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Welsch said, “I’m always trying to do the absolute best meal I can … (for the show) I’m thinking, ‘try not to concentrate on the lights — the celebrity chefs. Don’t get over-excited or cut myself or burn myself.’ you do the best you can and hope it’s good enough.”

To prepare for the show, welsch participated in “brainstorming” sessions with chef chris kefauver, associate professor in west virginia northern community college’s culinary arts program.

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