Andrea Bergin started off the year rubbing elbows with celebrity chefs and making her Food Network debut as a contestant on Beat Bobby Flay.
The Carle Place resident was on the Thursday, Jan. 4, episode of the culinary competition, which pits two chefs against one other with the winner moving on to compete against celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Flay and the contestant create a signature dish of the latter’s choosing, with judges doing a blind taste test to decide who did it better.
Bergin faced off against Jeremy Fogg, a pastry chef at Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans restaurant and winner of the 2015 Best Pastry Chef of Louisiana. Flay picked the secret ingredient—prosecco—and the two chefs had 20 minutes to create a dish of their choice. Bergin created a deconstructed prosecco cheesecake with prosecco glazed berries and whipped cream.
“I had no time and people were talking to me. I was fine with that, I felt in my element,” Bergin said. “I have three kids and a high-pressure job, so I’m used to having to do everything under the gun.”
Though Bergin didn’t make it on to the next round to compete against Flay, she does wear the title of being the only nonprofessional chef to compete on the show in its 15 seasons; Bergin had originally signed up for another show, but producers called her back for Beat Bobby Flay, a show she said she never would have signed up for because its contestants are usually professionals and she is self-taught.
After a lengthy application and interview process, Bergin filmed the episode in May of 2017, a seven-and-a-half-hour process that took place in a Manhattan studio. She noted that one of the things she was most thrilled about was that the show’s introduction of her included her work with Icing Smiles, a nationwide nonprofit where bakers volunteer their time to provide special occasion and birthday cakes for terminally ill or medically fragile children or their siblings.
Bergin said she plans to apply for other shows and is open to other opportunities to highlight her passion for baking.
“You have to leave yourself open to have these really cool experiences. You never know where life will take you and you [should] enjoy the ride,” she said. “I really loved the pressure of having to cook and accomplish something and having a time limit. It was a great experience.”
She was also thankful for the support of her family and the Carle Place community.
“A lot of local people supported me and said a lot of kind words,” said Bergin. “I’m very happy people watched along with me and my family.”