A mother and father in The Villages are filled with pride as their daughter has been selected to appear with Martha Stewart on a Food Network cooking competition show.
The daughter of Jeff and Roberta Cutting, who live in the Southern Star Villas, will appear in the five-episode series “Chopped: Martha Rules.”
Julie Cutting-Kelly has been a chef for 16 years and a fan of Stewart since she was a young girl. Cutting-Kelly had previously appeared in 2013 on “Cut Throat Kitchen,” a Food Network program.
Cutting-Kelly was thrilled when she received an email inviting her to appear in an installment of the “Chopped” series.
“I heard it was a Martha ‘takeover’ and I was 100 percent on board. I have been watching her even before culinary school, and I think she is just great. I like her bad boss lady vibe. I have the utmost respect for her,” Cutting-Kelly said.
Each episode of “Chopped” begins with each contestant chef receiving a mystery basket containing ingredients. Chefs are then expected to create a dish using those ingredients along with supplies from a shared pantry.
In preparation for the competition, Cutting-Kelly enlisted her parents to help her prepare. Her parents would go to the grocery store and buy a variety of different, and sometimes exotic, food. The Cuttings would then turn over the ingredients to another chef who would create a mystery basket. Once Cutting-Kelly received the basket from the other chef she would have a set amount of time to create a dish, just like the actual show.
The show was filmed in Kennebunkport, Maine in September and Cutting-Kelly clearly enjoyed the experience.
Cutting-Kelly has her own restaurant in Portsmouth, N.H. where she specializes in American comfort food with an upscale twist. Her mother does the payroll and performs HR tasks for the restaurant.
She said the experience with Stewart has upped her game.
“People go go in there to have fun with it, but I definitely felt the pressure. I wanted to impress her having looked up to her throughout the years and seeing the empire that she’s built. I’m slowly making my way toward having a good brand, the pressure was there to perform, to put out food that not only fit the mystery baskets, but looked visually appealing and that tasted good,” Cutting-Kelly said.
She said she tries to control all of the circumstances at her restaurant.
“That’s what you are taught at culinary school, but when you get into a situation like ‘Chopped’ and you have no control over your ingredients or where things are, or your time limit, it’s just wild. So you just have to throw your hands up and just have fun with it. This made me live a little bit on the wild side. I like stepping out of my comfort zone to do that,” she said.
The episode featuring Cutting-Kelly will air at 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 20 on the Food Network.