One of the four kids competing on Tuesday night’s episode of the Food Network show “Chopped Junior” has a chef-y pedigree: He’s the son of local restaurateur and TV personality David Guas.
At 14, McLean High School ninth-grader Kemp Guas has better knife skills than most of his peers. But that’s not all thanks to his dad, an erstwhile TV host and cookbook author who owns Bayou Bakery and often turns up on NBC’s “Today” show.
The younger Guas practiced with his Dad’s good pal, Robert Wiedmaier, the owner of Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck, spending weekends at Marcel’s in the culinary version of Jedi training — lessons would sometimes focus on chopping, say, or sauces. Eventually, they worked up to trial competitions between Guas and Wiedmaier’s sous chef.
“I didn’t want my dad helping me,” said Guas, who aspires to be a food critic or a member of the Air Force some day. “It’s just different talking to him than one of his friends.”
When he and his mom, PR rep Simone Rathle, finally got to the Food Network’s set in New York for the May taping, he felt a last-minute bout of nerves — until he got a feel for the kitchen. “And then I thought, ‘let’s do this!’ ” For those unfamiliar with the premise, it’s a spinoff of the adult cooking competition where chefs cook three courses using often-challenging ingredients (uh, spam? gummy bears?) from a “mystery” basket with a timer ticking.
Guas couldn’t tell us how he fared — the Food Network makes competitors swear not to give away the surprise — but he called the experience “awesome” and said he just hoped to do better than dear old dad. His father appeared on the grown-ups’ version in 2012 and got knocked off before the third and final round. “I re-watched my Dad’s episode, and I was like, ‘I can do better.’ ”