The show wouldn't be called Beat Bobby Flay if it were an easy task, as Academe at the Kennebunk Inn chef Shanna O'Hea discovered recently. Her turn on the Food Network cooking competition aired last night. O'Hea's pasta carbonara put her past Louisville chef Kathy Cary in round one, but her iteration of a Croque Madame on challah with lobster wasn't enough to turn the judges from Flay's traditional version in round two. Diners will have a chance to judge the second place dish for themselves, though, as it will be served as a special at Academe this weekend.
This isn't O'Hea's first appearance on national television (her signature Lobster Pot Pie has been featured on Food Network as well as the Travel Channel) but she admitted she felt some jitters leading up to the competition. "I was getting quite nervous seeing all these people in the stands, but once the time started and I began to get into my groove the audience was so supportive and energizing."
As to whether or not she deserved to win, O'Hea told Eater, "I feel very proud of how I put a contemporary regional twist on the traditional Croque Monsieur. Even now, knowing the judges wanted something closer to the original recipe, I still think I would go the same route, making it my own."