ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – Chef Alejandro Barrientos, owner of Curbside Bistro, is putting Odessa’s food scene on the map. He’s going to be featured on “Beat Bobby Flay” on the Food Network this April.
“It’s a huge honor to be able to put west Texas in the national spotlight. People can say, yes there is a chef from west Texas coming out on the Food Network, and yes we do have some amazing food,” said Barrientos.
A recruiter for the show reached out to him a couple of years ago and at first he thought it was a scam. Fortunately, in this case, it wasn’t too good to be true.
“It’s a huge dream come true. I could not believe it. I still can’t believe it.”
Barrientos describes his style of cooking as ‘gourmet comfort’ and is excited to show that although Texas has great barbecue and southern food, it’s got a lot more to offer than just that.
“There’s some amazing chefs here, cooks and bakers, doing all kinds of cuisine. Out of their house, farmers markets and food trucks. I think it’s the perfect time right now. There’s so many people that are passionate about cooking in the area, and it’s a huge honor to be able to highlight the food.
If you’re not familiar with the show, two contestants must compete and make a dish using a secret ingredient that Bobby Flay chooses. Whoever wins that round gets to battle Bobby Flay himself. In that round, the contestant gets to prepare a signature dish ahead of time and Chef Flay must come up with his own version of that dish.
Although Barrientos couldn’t give anything away, he did tell us a little bit about the experience.
“It’s exactly like you see on TV. The little time, the panic, the pressure. But the one thing you don’t see is all the cameras. They have cameras below you, beside you, above you. You also have someone right beside you with a microphone. It’s very nerve racking but a very amazing experience.”
Although excited about being on the show, Barrientos is really hoping this shows aspiring chefs around the Basin, anything is possible.
“I’m from southside Odessa, me and my wife started a restaurant ourselves with no investors or loans or anything like that. So you can come from any way in Odessa and start your own restaurant and be successful if that’s something you’re passionate about.”
He now wants to use his journey, starting out selling crepes at local farmers markets, as a guide for others.
“One of my biggest pieces of advice is if you can’t get into the restaurant business right away, get into a food truck, if you can’t get into a food truck think about getting into farmers markets. Right now online ordering is huge. You can open up Facebook and have a business within a couple hours. So start small, start scaling your restaurant down so when you start getting bigger and getting more exposure, you can start scaling it up,” said Barrientos.
Be sure to visit Curbside Bistro right here in Odessa and tune in to watch Chef Barrientos on “Beat Bobby Flay ” on April 22nd on Food Network.