Accomplished chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur and TV personality Nyesha Arrington may be best known for competing on season 9 of Top Chef and for recently appearing on Selena + Chef, but she’ll soon be returning to television preparing a new meal with Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo in FOX’s Next Level Chef (premiering September 1st 2021).
This new cooking competition series features a culinary gauntlet set on a stage over three stories high, with each floor containing a different kitchen. Line cooks, home chefs, social media stars and food struck owners will compete against each other to be crowned the food world’s newest superstar and Arrington, Ramsay and D’Acampo will each recruit a group of the chefs and take them under their wings to help them win the $250,000 grand prize.
We caught up with Arrington to chat Next Level Chef, summer cookout tips and her go-to recipes, like Korean Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Potato Grits.
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Any guesses to what dishes might be showcased on Next Level Chef?
I believe the chefs will be bringing their A game! The contestants will be competing for 250k so there is a lot on the line. This unique competition will showcase talent from a wide range of levels from content creators to professional chefs.
Related: Get Ready for Fall TV With Our 2021 Schedule
What was it like filming Selena + Chef?
During the pandemic I became a virtual event pro. Connecting with Selena Gomez was great; she is a diligent student and worked hard to recreate the dish I taught her. But was even more fun is that my dog @bleu.ginger and her dogs got to join in on the fun! Bleu Ginger is a seasoned professional dog chef and she shared her doggy treat recipe.
What are your best summer cookout tips?
Prep the day before! The key to a successful cookout in in the pre preparation. The day of the event you really just want to be finishing the dishes and not starting from ground zero.
Related: Best Recipes to Bring to a Cookout
What are some of your go-to recipes?
Anything soup related, I adore making large batches of soups or stews then creating different dishes from the base throughout the week.
How does your African American/Korean background influence your cooking?
Food has the power to fuel our body and connect us to the ancestors. I come from a long line of cooks on both sides of my family. My goal is to always celebrate was is in season with global influence—like my recipe for Korean Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Potato Grits.
Veggies you can’t live without?
- Avocado: Technically a fruit.
- Sea Moss: Contains high concentration of minerals needed for
- Cabbage: Because kimchi and its high alkalinity!
- Scallions: I love the fresh onion flavor without being too overpowering.
- Cucumbers: They are so versatile and contain lots of water.
Dream dinner guests?
Chef Nyesha Arrington’s Korean Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Potato Grits
Korean Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Potato Grits
Sweet Potato Grits:
- 2 lb sweet potato
- 4 cups water
- 2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1.5 cup uncooked yellow grits
- 3 Tbsp butter
Korean Short Ribs:
- 5 lbs short ribs, boneless
- 1 bottle red wine, Cabernet
- 2 quarts beef stock
- ⅛ cup blended oil
- 2 cups soy sauce
- 1 cup sesame seed oil
- 2 Asian pears, deseeded
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 2 oranges, zest
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into rounds
- 2 oz ginger, cut into rounds
- 7 scallions, cut in half
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seed
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup gochujang
Sweet Potato Grits:
Rinse the sweet potato to remove any dirt and then prick with a fork.
Wrap the sweet potato in aluminum foil, place in oven @ 375 for 40 mins.
Gently squeeze the sweet potato to make sure if is soft all the way through.
Allow the sweet potato to cool slightly, and scoop out cooked flesh.
For the grits: Place 4 cups of water and one teaspoon of salt to a medium, heavy bottom sauce pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a rolling boil, whisk in the uncooked yellow grits.
Stir the mixture until it comes back up to a boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting, place a lid on top, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
After the grits have cooked, remove the lid and give them a good stir to help them finish absorbing the water.
Next, Add the fork crushed sweet potatoes and stir until well mixed, fold in the butter, and nutmeg.
Stir again until smooth. Add remaining salt, and butter. Serve hot.
Korean Short Ribs:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat grapeseed oil in a large deep rondeau.
Seat short ribs and begin to brown on all sides.
Once all ribs are brown, remove from pot and reserve in a deep hotel pan preferably a 600.
If necessary add more oil to to rondeau, add in your aromatics, allow to caramelize, follow
that with tomato paste and gochujang.
Add in liquids next, wine or stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Transfer the liquid to the ribs in the hotel pan, cover with plastic wrap and foil.
Place in 375 degree oven and braise for 3 1⁄2 hours.
Remove short ribs from liquid once cooled.
Strain and reserve cooking liquid.