In the fiery July 4th special from Food Network’s six-week summer “Beachside Brawl,” competitors are once again tasked with figuring out which coast offers better summer food: east versus west.
In the final episode, one contestant from each coast is chosen for a fatal showdown, with the loser forced to pack his bag and head home. Pensacola’s chef, Ed Lordman, was one of the two in the chopping block.
As the weeks progress in Redondo Beach, California, the competition is getting tougher and the chefs are getting closer to winning the “Best of the Beach” title as well as a beach getaway worth up to $25,000.
Lordman is one of the four spots on the East Coast team led by celebrity chef Tiffany Faison. Since then, the West Coast team, written by culinary professional Brooke Williamson, has dwindled to only two competitors.
In the team’s first challenge on Sunday’s episode, each coast was tasked with preparing the ultimate beach burger that would be sought after in the 4th of July cooking.
Ruling alongside “Beachside Brawl” host Antonia Lovaso, restaurateur Jeremy McBride, owner and chef at Comfort LA based in California.
Lordman jumped on the beef burger bandwagon, hoping that the success of his Pensacola recipe would pass on to Food Network critics.
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Explaining his dish to the judges, Lordman said, “Where I come from is in the filthy Southeast, we’re growing up. So I went with a rib eye pie, two slices of cheddar smash style, sharp cheddar there.” “On the bottom we have a coleslaw with charred corn. Then, on top, we made a little bit of Vidalia’s Bacon Onion Jam and Onion Jam—the Fourth of July burger.”
Lordman received praise from McBride for the Dairy South Eatery Burger, who claimed the sandwich was the definition of burger expectations.
“Man, that’s a burger, bro,” said McBride, digging into the first bite. “In a dictionary, I want to see something like this. I love what you did with corn and onion jam. It’s so essential because this is a beef burger. It just accents the perfect ribeye. The slaw kind of gets lost, just because it’s a big burger.”
But Lovanso was his harshest critic.
“The meat is actually not seasoned enough,” she said.
Despite his efforts, Lordman was selected from the East Coast crew to get into survival cooking.
Lordman enters survival tour
Lordman and Jessica Roy of the West Coast team of Newport Beach are tasked with putting all their skills on the table and creating a family roast feast in just 45 minutes.
Chefs were tasked with including grilled meat, grilled vegetables, and grilled dessert at the feast, but were allowed guidance from the captains of the coasts.
Lordman decided to swap out his meat with Creole-marinated porterhouse pork, squash, corn, and zucchini as sides, and finish the feast with a grilled peach cobbler.
Lordman said he felt “prepared for the challenge” because the list reflected his roots.
“My grandmother made a cobbler grow up. Southern speaking, outdoor barbecue speaking…that’s just like something my uncle does growing up,” Lordman said.
When Lordman put the finishing touches to the plate, he dunked his plate in Creole butter, the seconds chime on the clock before handing his fate into the hands of the judge.
“You certainly saved yourself,” McBride said when tasting Lordman’s dish. “Cajun butter is beautiful. (I) kind of want to grab a straw, to be honest with you… Your ancestors definitely talk to me through your food. That’s a fact. Your grandmother, your aunt, your grandmother.”
Not only were the flavors noteworthy, Lovanso added, but Lordemann’s cooking style shined, particularly in his main appetizer.
“What I admire most now, as I do, is the cook in the porter. The cook in the porter: It’s not easy,” Lovanso stressed.
Lovanso also aroused Lordman’s affection for the atom.
“If someone doesn’t like you, ‘Ambassador to Corn’, when you’re done with this show…because I’ve never had corn so many times and in so many different ways by one person,” she said. “All in all, a really great job.”
Lordman clapped and cried when he received the news that he had won the challenge and that he would be cooking on the sidewalk another week.
Tune in at 9 p.m. Sunday on Food Network or Discover+ to watch the rest of Lordman’s journey unfold.