A selection of 14 top chefs from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, have been chosen by an expert chef to showcase their culinary skills. However, there's a twist. These chefs will be taken out of their familiar surroundings and placed in unfamiliar kitchens, without any knowledge of their destination, the dishes they'll be preparing, or the ingredients they'll have at their disposal. With only 60 minutes on the clock, they must create an impressive dish that will earn them the coveted title of Chef Swap champion, as judged by esteemed food experts from around the beach and beyond.
Crafty Rooster has been crowing in Conway since Oct. 12, 2009, when it debuted. A popular restaurant and bar, at 1125 Third Ave., the venue is frequented by locals and visitors alike
Casey Blake is a chef prodigy. He was the man in charge at 16 and has been at Drunken Jack’s for more than 30 years. He is considered one of the top chefs along the Grand Strand, and one of the chefs to beat in local competitions.
Dan Sheppard likes simple food with surprising zigzags that allow classic ingredients to showcase themselves cleverly. He enjoys teaching and learning from others to keep the current culinary ideas strong.
Danny Jira can take unexpected food combinations and make wondrous meals. His late uncle inspired him and sparked his love for a profession where all foods are friends and can be fabulous when made by his hands.
Derick Carrozza went to a trade school intending to become a mechanic – fixing his vehicles to save himself money and repairing them to make money. Yet, the culinary bug bit him. Instead of getting under cars, he decided to get on grills.
Gabriel Hernandez grew up in a family of restauranteurs that had regular family gatherings, came from various ethnic backgrounds, and inspired him to be a lover of worldwide cuisines that he infuses into his cooking.
Jerrett King hoped to be a professional basketball player but ended up courting his own kitchen as an owner and an executive chef. His deferred dream of a NBA life actually gave him the life he loves playing for one dish at a time.
Jonathan Glass never thought about being a chef until an injury during high school sidetracked his dreams of playing collegiate hockey. Now, his goals are off the ice, and his kitchen game is fire.
Jordan Lazarus went to college to pursue theatrical art, but she fell in love with yachting and South Africa along the way. A health diagnosis made her rethink her career and gave her tunnel vision for creating food that is empowering and divine.
A text from his mom changed Justin Feasel’s life and jump started him into the restaurant industry. Since his early days as a busboy, Feasel has cooked beside top tier chefs and learned the subtle details of fine dining and otherworldly flavor profiles.
Mike Mammola thought he would be a sports commentator. Others thought he would become a lawyer. The influence of a friend placed him in the kitchen, and now healthy delicious food is his lifelong mission.
As a youngster, Rex Mckinney was a busboy at a water park and yearned to learn more about the inner workings of a commercial kitchen. He is a steadfast soldier in an industry he loves but believes everyone needs big dollops of patience to be a part of it.
Terry Flores’s heart is rooted in the tastes of the Grand Strand. He grew up in Conway and discovered his fond love for producing inventive food under the guidance of his friend and mentor, Darren Smith, owner of Rivertown Bistro and Bonfire A Smokin’ Taqueria.
Vincent “Vinny” Tumminello grew up eating authentic Italian food made by his paternal grandmother and realized cooking was a magnet that drew his soul into the possibilities of commanding plates of food. He now does his best to share some of the love his grandmother shared with him with others.
Breakfast Chef Swap | Jamie vs. Jess
Chef Amanda kicks things off with a bang as she swaps Chef Jamie Daskalis of high-volume breakfast spot, Johnny D's, with Chef Jess Sagun of eclectic downtown bistro, Winna's Kitchen for a head-to-head Breakfast Chef Swap Challenge. Find out who will take home the inaugural Chef Swap Knife!
Lunch Chef Swap | Greg vs. Eugen
A Chef Swap Challenge with international flair! Amanda visits Ciao Italian restaurant and unique coastal eatery, Drift, for a Lunch Challenge. Things get messy as Chef Eugen Hysa and Chef Greg Plingau do their best to come up with a lunch dish to wow the judges.
Burger Chef Swap | Darren vs. Chad
Tidal Creek Brewhouse, a Myrtle Beach brewery known for its outstanding food and brews, swaps kitchens with Bonfire Taqueria, a barbecue fusion restaurant in historic downtown Conway, for a Burger Chef Swap Challenge you won't want to miss. Chef Amanda pits Chef Chad Wiers against Chef Darren Smith to see who has the best burger around.
Entrée Chef Swap | Steve vs. Adam
Chef Steve Perrone of Perrone’s and Chef Adam Kirby of Bistro 217 take on an Entrée & Cocktail Chef Swap Challenge. When our host Amanda Freitag presents an added curveball, will it be a turning point for these two or will they rise to the challenge?
Surf 'N' Turf Chef Swap | Matt vs. Gary
Things are heating up in the kitchen as iconic oceanfront spot Sea Captain's House and the upstart 44 & King go head to head in a Surf 'n Turf Chef Swap Challenge. Will one hour be enough for these two chefs to make magic?
Lunch Plate Showdown | Jonathan vs. Gabe
New host Chef Mason Zeglen dives deep into the heart of Myrtle Beach with two very special, family-run restaurants. Fiesta Mexicana’s Chef Gabe Hernandez swaps kitchens with Chef Jonathan Glass of Nonna’s Taste of Italy for a Lunch-Plate-Special showdown. Who will bring home the Chef Swap Knife?
Catch & Cook | Vinny vs. Rex
Chef Vincent Tumminello of Bar 1912 and Chef Rex McKinney of Dead Dog Saloon face off in a Catch and Cook challenge. Whatever fish the judges catch, the chefs have to cook. Which chef will hook the Chef Swap Knife?
Sandwiches & Cocktails | Danny vs. Ben
It’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween as Chef Mason challenge restaurant neighbors Chef Ben Flores from Crafty Rooster ad Chef Danny Jira from Hop N Wich to swap places and cook up a delicious Southern Sandwich with a side of signature Mac-and-Cheese and a spooky cocktail.
Meat & Appetizer Duo | Terry vs. Justin
It’s time to bring the meats on today’s Chef Swap at the Beach, as Chef Mason tastes Meat Appetizer Duos from Chef Terry Flores of Rivertown Bistro and Chef Justin Feasel of Fire and Smoke. Both chefs go above and beyond to wow the judges with their carnivorous specials.
Spicy Chef Swap | Jerrett vs. Dan
Chef Jarrett King of O.A.K. Prime and Chef Dan Sheppard of Inlet Prohibition are ready to trade restaurants and wow our judges with their take on an entree with a spicy side. Which chef brought enough heat to win the Chef Swap Knife?
Steak and Eggs Swap | Derrick vs. Casey
Steak and Eggs are a breakfast staple, but this hearty combination certainly doesn't have to be boring. Chef Mason pushes the limit of this classic dish as he challenges Chef Derrick Carrozza of Filet’s and Chef Casey Blake of Drunken Jack’s to both bring their “A-game” in each other’s kitchens — or should we say their "egg-game"?
3 Veggies, 3 Ways | Jordan vs. Mike
Chef Mason is ready to go green and get healthy as Chef Jordan Lazarus of Lekker Eats swaps with Chef Mike Mammola of Zardin to create a vegetarian paradise of three vegetables each presented in three different ways. That’s nine good-for-you moments each if you are keeping count!
Award-winning Chef & TV Personality
Mason Zeglen, an acclaimed chef and two-time champion on "Guy's Grocery Games," is a culinary virtuoso with a mission to redefine the way people experience and appreciate food. From winning national competitions like "The Big Brunch" to establishing himself as the owner and executive chef of Milk & Honey Café in Surfside Beach, Zeglen showcases not only his exceptional skills but also a genuine passion for elevating the dining experience.
His meticulous, scientific, and experimental approach to food preparation ensures that each menu item is a delightful surprise, challenging conventions and offering an extraordinary culinary adventure.
Beyond his culinary achievements, Mason Zeglen's journey reflects a resilient spirit and dedication to continuous improvement. Raised in a self-sustainable farming family in Vermont, Zeglen has emerged as a leading figure in the culinary world. His kindness, generosity, and commitment to mentorship not only distinguish him as a chef but also endear him to those who have had the pleasure of experiencing his culinary creations.
Award-winning Chef, Author & TV Personality
Chef Amanda Freitag has become a culinary maven. Well known as a judge on Food Network’s “Chopped”, Amanda has also appeared on “Iron Chef America”, “Next Iron Chef”, “Unique Eats”, “Beat Bobby Flay," Guy Fieri’s “Tournament of Champions," and more.
With experience on some of the top cooking shows in the world, it's no secret Chef Amanda enjoys a bit of healthy competition. Now, thanks to her love of great food and southern hospitality, she's bringing her own take on a cooking challenge to life in Myrtle Beach.
Ever since Amanda’s first visit to The Beach, she has been captivated by the authenticity and diversity of the culinary scene. She discovered that the chefs in Myrtle Beach really know how to bring the heat when it comes to creating new dishes that drive flavors up a notch — making it the only suitable place to bring her Chef Swap competition show to life!
This is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — 60 miles of beautiful, sunny beaches, amazing attractions, and more than 2,000 restaurants. With its bevy of outstanding culinary options, The Beach has become a true foodie destination!
More than 20 million visitors per year choose to visit The Beach to experience all the area has to offer. There's world-class golf courses, top-notch entertainment and a laid-back way of life that lets everyone know that "You Belong at The Beach".
It's also one of the fastest-growing places in the nation for food!
This melting pot of a coastal community attracts "permanent vacationers" from all over the world, meaning you can find outstanding cuisine of every type here. From the freshest locally-caught seafood and downhome Southern barbecue to the finest oceanfront dining and an eclectic blend of flavor fusions — you can find it all at The Beach!