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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Local chef's talents airing on Food Network

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  • NEWFOUNDLAND - Since she was old enough to push a chair up to a stove, 35-year-old Executive Chef Jessica Seagraves of The Newfoundland Hotel, has expressed her creative talents through her dishes.  
        Seagraves's culinary skills will be demonstrated Sunday, July 20 at 10:00 p.m., when her appearance on the Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen airs for all to see.   
        Last week, Seagraves left the area to embark on another special experience, as she traveled to Massachusetts to start filming her stint on ABC's The Taste.
        Seagraves was mum about her performance on Cutthroat Kitchen because she signed a $1 million contract that said she would not reveal details of the show. But, she did glow and admit that her nerves were high when she met her idol, celebrity chef Alton Brown.  
        The Executive Chef at The Newfoundland Hotel, which is owned by her family, Seagraves was born and raised at the family's business. Working in the field for 21 years, with 15 years as an executive chef, Seagraves spent nine years cooking in Washington D.C.    
        After the taping for Cutthroat Kitchen in April, Seagraves was contacted to compete on The Taste, which she said was a surprise. Today though, she is looking at possibly also competing on the Food Network's Chopped. Going on three shows, Seagraves admits “scares the hell out of me.” She explained that although she applied to go on Cutthroat, she did not expect the other two doors to open and when someone from ABC called her, she questioned how the person got her information.  
        Before she left for Cutthroat Kitchen, Seagraves said she conceived her own tricks, as she had to prepare for the show, where contestants often sabotage one another as part of the competition. Seagraves considers herself to be “pretty resourceful and very intuitive.” Aware of the contestants potential tricks, she said, “you're absolutely filled up with fear.” The only detail of the show she revealed with a laugh was that, “I survived.”
         With her episode airing the 20th, Seagraves said she can't watch the show anymore because the anticipation is “worse than Christmas.”
        All of Seagraves's competitors were executive chefs, one who is a current presidential chef, with another who is the executive chef for the Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey Circus, where he cooks on a train.
         The experience, she said was “exhilarating.” Quiet about the details of the show, she would not say who the judge is, except that he is, “pretty freaking substantial in the world,” possibly bigger than her idol Alton Brown.
    Page 2 of 2 -     Unable to talk about the show, Seagraves said it wasn't that difficult because she's a relatively quiet person. More than anything though, she has enjoyed watching her family bet to see who wins, since she already knows the results.
        Since each competitor brought their own tactics, Seagraves admits that she was surprised “because they're all incredible.” She explained that as she got to know everyone, seeing how resourceful they were was neat.
        In the end, she said the experience she shared with the competitors was “amazing,” as they tried to outwit one another, but became good friends.
        Being on Cutthroat Kitchen was Seagraves's first time on camera, and she admits that she wanted to throw-up the entire time. The reason, she was performing in front of Brown. Unsure of how to handle her nerves, Seagraves said it was a challenge because most people don't get to meet their idols.
        Before she left for The Taste last week, Seagraves said she was not ready. She explained that because she was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and losing vision in her left eye, things are more difficult. The night the show airs, there will be a special event at The Hotel and the evening's proceeds will go the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
        Without revealing any details about her performance on Cutthroat, Seagraves did say she is pleased with the outcome as it “was an incredible experience.” It was fantastic, she said because its the, “coolest thing I've ever done in my life.”  
        Before entering the culinary field, Seagraves actually wanted to be an artist. That didn't work, she said because money isn't easy to make. And so, Seagraves realized she could “express my creative side through the food and it was profitable.”
        Having the chance to “vent my creative outlet,” Seagraves said her favorite part of being a chef is being able to present her food and please customers.  
        Even though she won some money from Cutthroat Kitchen, Seagraves would not tell how much. She did say, eventually she would like to buy an eco-friendly food truck and travel the east coat cooking for people.  
        Honored to have met so many people, Seagraves called her stint on Cutthroat Kitchen and her upcoming opportunities a, “beautiful episode of my life.” For those who love to cook, Seagraves said all that is needed to make good food is “passion.”   
        For more information about The Hotel visit http://www.TheNewfoundlandHotel.com/.

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