Pensacola Chef Edward Lordman is bringing the heat on Food Network’s latest cooking competition, Beachside Brawl, premiering June 19 at 9 p.m.
The six-week series will recruit chefs from all around the country to settle the debate of which coast does summer food best: the East Coast versus the West. Each team of four will be given a renowned chef as a mentor and team captain: chef Tiffani Faison for the East Coast and chef Brooke Williamson representing the West Coast.
Beachside Brawl, hosted by chef Antonia Lofaso, will give chefs the opportunity to showcase their region’s signature dishes, according to a statement by Food Network. This could look like everything from West Coast fish tacos to East Coast lobster rolls, and everything in between.
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Each episode will present a series of criteria challenges that each chef will be tasked to create a dish to meet.
“The menu must include an item on a stick, a fried item, as well as something in a bun, something cheesy, and something sweet,” Food Network wrote in a statement regarding the first episode’s challenge.
Each chef will hope the beach-inspired dishes they create will be enough for the judges to crown them “Best of the Beach” and award them with a beach getaway worth up to $25,000.
Joining Lordman’s East Coast team will be chefs from New Jersey, Massachusetts and Tampa Bay.
Lordman, a Georgia native, has been working his way through Pensacola kitchens since 2014. Lordman said he was following a mentor to take a position as a sous chef at Pensacola Country Club, where the two were able to work to bring the club to platinum-level status.
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Since then, Lordman has taken on roles as sous chef and head pastry chef at Restaurant IRON, executive chef at Polanza Bistro and recently a chef at the Grand Marlin Restaurant. He also recently launched an independent company, Southern Grit Culinary.
Lordman has created a reputation for himself by pouring his Southern flare into his dishes inspired by home, like his mother’s collard greens.
Regardless of a loss or win on the series, Lordman said he is looking forward to showing America what he has to offer.
“I just wanted to kind of prove that really no matter where you come from, no matter your ethnicity, age, whatever it is — if you’ve got skill, you’ve got talent, you work hard enough at it … You can put yourself out there. Those dreams and stuff will start coming,” Lordman said.
Lordman said the competition was steep, facing competitors that have won other Food Network challenges and are esteemed chefs in larger cities. Filming has since concluded for the season, though Lordman is unable to share how far he made it on the show.
He is relatively self-made, as he started out washing dishes in a nursing home before manning the fryer at Sonic as a teenager, until ultimately working his way up to the coveted title of executive chef.
Lordman said though he has not had the technical training others may have had, he has made up for it with hard work and experience.
He felt he had mastered various culinary skills along the way, like sautéing, prepping, and plating, when Food Network reached out to him to compete on the inaugural show, making him feel like he was finally ready.
When making the decision to appear on the show, Lordman said there were still some fears he would need to overcome. Fears like facing an early exit from the show, nerves of cooking on camera, or even flying in an airplane for the first time.
“It was like a leap of faith,” Lordman said. “In a restaurant, you’re controlling the flow.”
Even while plating his food with shaky hands, he said facing his fears was worth it to be able to compete against chefs of such high caliber.
Lordman said viewers will have the opportunity to try the dishes for themselves at The Grand Marlin, as he would like to bring in the dishes that appear on the show as special menu features for that week.
“When I see something on TV, I’m like, ‘Man, I want to try that. That looks good.’ You know? I want to bring that. When people that know me watch that, instead of just asking me how it was, come try it. Just come try it for yourself,” Lordman said.
To watch Lordman’s journey unfold, tune in starting June 19 on the Food Network or on discovery+.