Mississippi chef cooks signature brunch dish to take down Food Network Iron Chef, wins $15,000

Published 9:02 am Monday, May 8, 2023

A Mississippi chef won $15,000 and beat one of the Food Network’s Iron Chefs during Sunday’s episode of the show “Alex vs. America.”

Austin Sumrall, nicknamed “Mr. Fancy Pants” by Alex Guarnaschelli during the episode, beat Guarnaschelli during a Southern Comfort Food Competition with his signature grits and grillades from Biloxi’s White Pillars Restaurant, where he is the chef and owner.

In the two-round competition, Sumrall also beat out two other Southern chefs, Tamala Man from Memphis, Tennessee, and Justin Burdett, of North Carolina.

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Sumrall’s signature dish wowed judges Adrienne Cheatham and “Top Chef” winner Kelsey Barnard Clark.

In the second round, the chefs had to create a brunch dish inspired by the farm, including the classic flavors from a southern mint julep.

During the blind judging, Cheatham said she definitely was “getting farm vibes” from the dish that included cherry tomatoes, oyster mushrooms and a gremolata.

Clark raved about the dish, going so far as to say, “I would marry this.”

At the end of the show, Sumrall celebrated with host Eric Adjepong announced that the winning chef was from “M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.”

Sumrall said it was a “privilege and an honor to beat Alex.”