Appearing on Guy Fieri’s Food Network shows a dream for the chef of the IronRock Tap House in Hempfield


Arnold Ivey’s decades-long dream of being on a cooking TV show will come true this week when Guy’s Grocery Games airs on the Food Network.

The 42-year-old executive chef of the IronRock Tap House in Hempfield will appear alongside two other chefs on Wednesday’s episode “ABC Mania,” considered one of the toughest challenges of the show’s 28 seasons. The trio were to use just 26 ingredients, one for each letter of the alphabet, over two rounds.

“It was probably the hardest thing I’ve done in my career just because not only was I thinking about the food you need to cook, but all the time I’m thinking about the alphabet, too,” Ivey said. “It was just like these don’t collide as easily in your brain, so you run around and try to remember the different letters of the alphabet.”

In the first round, the chefs had to prepare a chicken dinner using 13 ingredients, each starting with a different letter from A to M. In the second round, the two remaining chefs created a seafood dish using 13 ingredients with the letters N to Z. The chef with the highest score had a chance to win $ 20,000.

Ivey, from Adamsburg, got involved with the show after being contacted by one of his talent scouts last year. After saying he was interested, Ivey submitted an online application which was followed by a Skype interview with a producer. Another group of producers then screened the applicants and made a final decision.

The covid pandemic has delayed the process. But in June, Ivey was flown to Sonoma County, Calif., To begin filming.

“It took me a while to get on the show, then knowing that they get thousands of applicants a day and in my episode there are three of us,” Ivey said. “Out of thousands of candidates, they chose three. “

Filming the guys’ grocery shopping games

After passing several covid tests as a precaution, Ivey was cleared on set.

Guy’s Grocery Games is hosted by Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri. The show features a 24,000 square foot ensemble with a fully functional grocery store stocked with 100,000 items. Throughout the show, attendees have 30 minutes to shop in the store and create a meal based on the episode’s settings. A panel of judges then determines the winners of each round.

“I was so nervous I couldn’t sit down,” Ivey said.

Growing up in Rockford, Ill., Ivey has always had an interest in cooking and experimenting with different dishes, he said.

At 17, he moved to Indiana where he studied cooking at a vo-tech school. He then returned to school to complete their advanced program.

After graduating, he began his career as a chef at Ground Round in Illinois before moving to Outback Steakhouse. After mastering the various cooking stations, Ivey used his spare time learning how to run a bar to help him become well-rounded in the restaurant industry.

From there, Ivey decided to attend Culinary School at Indiana University in Pennsylvania. He graduated in 2001 and moved to Florida, where he worked at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. While in Florida, Ivey worked under the direction of a French Michelin-starred chef and used his free time to learn how to make sushi.

Ivey then began working in key roles guiding the opening of several restaurants, including IronRock. He noted that IronRock was the eighth restaurant he helped open.

Throughout his career, Ivey knew his goal was to appear on a cooking TV show.

“I knew that at one point my goal was to try and get famous somehow with my craft and what I do,” he said. “I don’t just want to work in kitchens and all that. I just want to be known a little more than that. I see it as a form of immortality, however. In a way, leave your mark where people remember you even after you have been gone for years and years.

Early in his career, Ivey auditioned for Hell’s Kitchen, hosted by Gordon Ramsey. The show airs on Fox. Despite auditioning twice, Ivey was not selected.

“I’m glad I finally got the opportunity to do what I’ve wanted for years and years,” Ivey said of Guy’s Grocery Games.

Looking ahead, Ivey, who also runs spice company Chef Arnold’s Insanely Craveable Enzymes, said he would not be against returning to the TV screen.

“I really want to do more because it was a really fun experience that I wasn’t sure I liked, but after doing it it was absolutely amazing,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind doing even another type of show or something like that. “

Guy’s Grocery Games airs Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Megan Tomasic is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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