Hanging With... The Bachelor Chef

Hanging With... The Bachelor Chef

Thursday, February 02, 2012

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Surmising Shea Stewart's relationship status is not exactly rocket science. The enterprising chef's Internet cooking show affords a glaring clue — it's named Bachelor Chef.

Curious to learn more, we scored an on-set invite to Stewart's Surbiton Road family home where Episode 6 of the low-budget but charmingly fun show was being filmed last week.

"Having the show online is a good vehicle for me," the 25-year-old chef tells Thursday Food between takes. "The world is going viral and I think this is a great window of opportunity to use the medium, sell myself, and revolutionise the way people in Jamaica see cooking," he adds, while watching the show's guest, Loni Jones, brush his specially created sauce onto grilled beef tenderloin, ribs and chicken.

Working in Stewart's favour at the moment is the always trendy 'it' factor. His relatively young catering company, Elite Kreations, is doing brisk business, scoring events for corporate clients (Flow, Digicel, Advantage General) as well as all-inclusive party soirées; he was a cover boy on the recent issue of Wealth Magazine alongside Observer Salut! caterers, Celeste Gordon and Brian Lumley, as well as our own Juicy Chef, Jacqui Sinclair. It doesn't hurt matters that Stewart is easy on the eyes.

With The Bachelor Chef, director Kyle Chin and Stewart say they are looking to inject a younger, fresher spin to what both consider the somewhat staid nature of local cooking shows. "That's why I don't use a chef jacket or an apron on-camera," Stewart points out. "I wanted to be more relatable."

While both Stewart and Chin had bounced around ideas for a cooking show for some time, it was not until Stewart's musician father, Stephen Stewart, actually suggested the show's title that the complete concept for Bachelor Chef took form. Shooting for the show commenced last September, with the first five-minute episode showing how to prepare a steak-and-potato recipe. Subsequent episodes show the young chef making a shrimp pasta sauce, visiting Coronation Market, giving a behind-the-scenes look at catering a private party, and a Christmas-themed episode showcasing family recipes. Stewart's likeable, unpretentious personality shines through on-screen while Chin's hand-held camera technique and quick-edits keep the show fast-paced.

So, what's next for the little-cooking-show-that-could quickly developing a rabid fan base?

Stewart, who admits to a surreal encounter while drinking at Macau Gaming Lounge where a female fan came up and thanked him for making her dinner, wants to develop his TV talent further and explore fusion dishes — with a distinctive Jamaican touch. As for Chin, he wouldn't mind the cooking show moving from the Internet to TV screens. "We're building a following," the business-minded director notes. "It would be great to get sponsorship and eventually have it on TV."

Between the duo's infectious enthusiasm and creative savvy, things may just be looking up.


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