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Byers Cook to Compete on Food Network's "Chopped"

He's no stranger to taking on the best cooks in the country, and now Red River Ranch chuck wagon cook Kent Rollins, who's from Byers, is at it again.  Rollins recently traveled to Arizona to compete in a special edition of Food Network's "Chopped" series.
      You probably remember Kent Rollins from his throw down chicken fried steak challenge with celebrity chef and Food Network star Bobby Flay, who got thrown to the ground by Rollins' chuck wagon skills.
    When he's not on popular Food Network shows, Kent and his wife, Shannon, run a catering business using a restored 1876 Studebaker Chuck wagon.
    "I started off not knowing anything about dutch oven cooking or chuck wagons.  I'm from northern Nevada and we don't have that kind of cooking there," Shannon says.
    Now you can watch Kent on another Food Network show: "Chopped: Grill Masters".
    Rollins was chosen as one of 16 "chefs" from across the country to compete in the series, which premiered July 22.
    "Chef has always been a bad word for me," Kent says.  "I've never been a chef.  I've always been a cook."
    The "Chopped" contestants must prepare an appetizer, entree, and dessert, but there's a catch.
    "You get four ingredients, sometimes five, and a lot of them things are things I've never seen in my life, nor could I spell," Kent says.  "I always told people, 'I ain't gonna cook what I can't spell.'"
    Judges evaluate each dish after the time limit expires, ready or not, and pick the winner based on the overall taste, appearance and creativity of all the contestant's dishes.
    Kent stayed true to the cooking code of the west, never stabbing another cook in the back.
    "Then they'd always ask, 'Well, who do you think needs to get chopped?'  I said, 'Ma'am, if you're trying to get me to talk bad about somebody, it ain't gonna happen,'" Kent says.
    Contestants get "chopped" one at a time, until only one chef remains.
    The final four face off Sunday the 19th, with the last one standing taking home bragging rights and a $50-thousand prize.
    So did Kent take home the big bucks?
    "I can't say!  Folks will just have to tune in."
    You can watch Kent in his first round on "Chopped: Grill Masters" at 8 o'clock Sunday night on the Food Network.
    You can learn more about Kent and get a recipe book featuring chuck wagon recipes at kentrollins.com
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