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Montana man takes down celebrity chef Bobby Flay in cooking showdown

Earl Reynolds flew to New York City to compete on "Beat Bobby Flay"
Posted at 8:38 AM, Jul 06, 2024

WHITEFISH — Representing the Flathead Valley on the national stage is what Whitefish’s own renowned chef Earl Reynolds has done after competing against and ultimately winning an episode of “Beat Bobby Flay” on the famous Food Network show.

It was a night of celebration at Herb and Omni in downtown Whitefish as a large crowd gathered to cheer on chef Earl Reynolds as he took down Bobby Flay during an episode watch party hosted by Explore Whitefish.

“I got a message on Instagram, kind of thought it was fake at first, and then turns out it wasn’t,” said Herb and Omni Executive Chef Earl Reynolds.

The Whitefish High School graduate and James Beard nominated chef flew to New York City to compete on the show, which has two contestants prepare a meal in front of judges with a mystery ingredient picked out by Bobby Flay.

“The mystery ingredient was wonton wrappers, and I went with pork and shrimp shumai, and I had made them a couple times before, I actually made them on my wife and I’s first date,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds took down his first opponent before sharing the stage with Bobby Flay. He said it was an honor to compete against a chef he’s always admired.

“As I became a professional chef myself, continued to watch him and admire the empire that he’s built and the career that he’s built for himself, and in my book, he’s defiantly one of the GOATs of our industry,” said Reynolds.

Back in Whitefish Reynolds has been the Executive Chef of Herb and Omni since last December. He emphasizes the importance of cooking seasonally and sourcing locally showcasing the different flavors Montana has to offer.

“I would call the cuisine, new American cuisine, but the concept of Herb and Omni is a place where both herbivores and omnivores can come and have great selections to choose from, I love cooking vegetarian food and like trying to just create different textures, aromas, flavors and make the food really playful,” added Reynolds.

Herb and Omni owner Jamie Goguen said she sought Earl out to work at her restaurant and was not surprised to see his talent on full display against Bobby Flay.

Chef Earl Reynolds talks about getting ready for his Food Network appearance

“It is widely known that he is very popular, his food is delicious, he’s incredibly talented and creative, so not shocked at all,” said Goguen.

After working in various restaurants up and down the West Coast, Reynolds said he’s proud to start this new culinary adventure in his hometown.

“My dream from the beginning was to get out and put feathers in my cap and learn as much technique as I could, to share my experience with food with my hometown, and this is just a dream come true as far as venues go."

Renowned Flathead County chef Sam Bassett, co-owner of Forage Catering, will also be appearing on an episode of "Beat Bobby Flay" at a later date.

"Sam Bassett is one of the biggest talents in this state, his food is awesome, I love collaborating with him," said Reynolds.