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Daily Gullet Staff

Good Morning, Spokane

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David, how did you get started with the show? Is your background in professional cooking? Did you know someone from the show?

It also sounds as if you weren't the only guest chef on the program; is that right? Who were the others -- home cooks like you or local restaurant chefs?

Great questions, thanks.

As for my background, no, I am not a "professional" chef. I'm what I would describe as a very studied self-taught home cook. And while I've cooked and worked in restaurant kitchens, I've never done so professionally. I'm an average guy with a day job that happened to find a love in food and cooking, and that led me to cooking on television-which has led to me writing about food, cooking and dining.

Unlike most people who find a career in television, I didn't start in a small market and then go Hollywood. I actually started my stint in tv by entering a competition that was filmed in Hollywood and ran nationally on PBS-"MasterChef USA."

Years before there was "Top Chef" on Bravo, "Iron Chef America" on Food Network, and the abysmal "Hell's Kitchen" on Fox, "MasterChef" on the BBC was the pre-eminent cooking competition on television-with competitions for both professionals and amateurs.

The BBC brought "MasterChef" to PBS in 1999 and thus began the competition to name America's top "amateur chef."

I happened to catch an episode of Season One of "MasterChef USA," and at the end of the program, I decided to write to the producer's for information about the competition.

The competition format for “MasterChef USA” began with written entries. About 20 of the written recipes were selected and the "chefs" were invited to regional cook-offs where three would be selected to be a part of the show.

The final group of 26 amateur cooks from around the country came together in Los Angeles for filming a 13-week competition.

After 12 weeks of eliminations, I “survived” as one of the top three contestants that would go on to vie for the title of “MasterChef USA,” in the 13th and final episode.

You can read about my adventures and travails on “MasterChef USA” on PBS by going to these links:





After starting my television cooking career on PBS at such a lofty level, I guess there was one direction to go-back down the media ladder to cooking on local television. But I wouldn’t call it a fall from grace.

Rather, after my fast start on PBS, I returned to my roots and found a home cooking on local television in Spokane. I didn't know "who can talk to who"-I didn't know a producer, director or cameraman. I just sent them a letter telling them my story and they responded by inviting me to come cook on "Sunday Morning Northwest."

Once I settled in at KXLY, I discovered a respect and admiration for sharing the craft of cooking through the intriguing medium of television. I don’t think I would have found that same appreciation had I gone directly from “MasterChef USA” to become the star of a cooking program on the biggest food network on cable television. One could say that in my case, being humbled by starting big and then finding my way back home became a gift.

KXLY-ABC 4 in Spokane, 1950’s television studio architecture at its best--


We tried to vary the people who came on the show to present a dish. One week I might be showing the viewers how to mash potatoes, then the next week it might be the junior winner of the Hershey's baking chocolate competition at the fair. The next week might showcase a local Chef cooking a specialty from their restaurant, or a group from a local Church promoting a Holiday cookie drive.

That variety of cooks, chefs, kids and just plain people who liked a good molasses crinkle cookie is part of what makes live, local television so fun and memorable.

After a lot of work, I've finally begun the task of putting my shows up on You Tube. This is the first appearance on MasterChef USA on PBS back in 2001 cooking in the Northwest Regional Round.


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