The Daily Gamecock

Commencement Issue: Local chef competes, wins on 'Cutthroat Kitchen'


Local chef Gary Uwanawich debuted on Food Network’s "Cutthroat Kitchen" on Sept. 20, 2015.

"Cutthroat Kitchen," one of Food Network’s most successful and competitive television programs, features four chefs weekly in a high-stakes cooking competition. These chefs are each given $25,000, which can be used in auctions to sabotage their competitors or benefit themselves. The winner of the competition leaves with their remaining balance.

Uwanawich, a chef and entrepreneur for over 15 years, was accepted as a contestant on the show, and later won the competition and the prize of $5,000. During the interview, he reminisced on why he became a chef.

“I remember my grandmother cooking for everyone as a child. She was the matriarch of the family,” Uwanawich said. “The proud look on her face when people were eating her food — I always admired it when I was a kid ... This is what I want. It’s not about the food, it’s about the people.”

Uwanawich seemed excited to have the opportunity to participate on "Cutthroat Kitchen," saying that he looks forward to the competition aspect.

Though the show often deviates from traditional cooking, Uwanawich was confident in dealing with the high-stress environment — and rightfully so, considering that he beat out three other contestants for the win.

“I’m used to it,” he said. “I’m the kind of guy who works well under pressure.”

The entire one-hour segment was filmed over the course of three days. Over the filming period, Uwanawich came head-to-head against a pastry chef from Los Angeles, a caterer from Louisiana and a master sushi chef from Key West, Florida.

To aspiring chefs, Uwanawich had a few final words of advice.

“Really make up your mind if this is a career path you want to take. If done correctly, it's the most rewarding. It’s been a wonderful ride,” he said.

Read the full version of this article, originally published in 2015.