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NM chef takes aim at Bobby Flay

Chef Fernando Ruiz

SANTA FE, N.M. — Fernando Ruiz’s journey has been one of peaks and valleys.

Over the past decade, Ruiz has put his energy into creating culinary delights.

As the chef at Chama Land & Cattle Company in Chama, he’s ready to take the national stage – again.

Ruiz will appear on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,” which airs at 8 p.m. Thursday.

The New Mexico-based chef is no stranger to his time in the limelight. In the past three years, he was victorious on Food Network’s competition series “Chopped” and “Guy’s Grocery Games.”

One thing is for sure, Ruiz has to be pushed in order to appear on the shows.

“When I got asked to do ‘Guys Grocery Games’ about three years ago, it took me a few months to fill out the application,” he said. “I didn’t want to be on TV and my wife told me to take the opportunity. After round one of the competition, I almost gave up. Then I won the first round and decided that I could win.”

When the opportunity to be on “Chopped” came around – again – Ruiz took his time with the application.

“I left the application in my inbox for five months,” he says with a snicker. “Then I realized it’s one of the biggest shows on Food Network and it’s one of the hardest shows to compete on. I did the show and won. It was amazing.”

Chef Bobby Flay is the host of the TV show “Beat Bobby Flay.” (Source: The Food Network)

Ruiz stayed on Food Network’s radar and sent him an application last year to be on “Beat Bobby Flay.”

This time, no time was wasted.

“I’m glad my wife made me do it,” he said. “I think it’s fun to compete now. It’s not something that I wanted to do because I just don’t want to be the first chef to go home. The shows challenge me and that’s what is so interesting.”

“Beat Bobby Flay” is currently in its 19th season. The first round has two chefs cooking for 20 minutes against each other using an ingredient chosen by Flay. Whoever moves on battles Flay in the 45-minute second round, and gets to choose a dish for the two chefs to compete against each other.

bright spotIn the episode titled, “Mince Meat,” Ruiz battles Mexican-born chef Paco Garcia for a chance to compete against Flay. Chefs Donatella Arpaia and Scott Conant will decide who moves on.

Ruiz filmed the episode in April 2018 in New York.

He’s used to waiting for the shows to air and tries to keep calm until leading up until the date.

“My wife says I do my best when I’m under pressure,” Ruiz said. “I don’t pay attention to the cameras until they stay stop. My road to this point of my career has been rough. I’ve been locked up and turned my life around. It’s never too late to accomplish your goals.”

There will be a viewing party beginning at 6 p.m. at Blue Heron Brewery in Española.