Cayman based chef hosts fiery TV show

Locally based chef Dylan Benoit is the host of a fiery new TV show, Fire Masters, aired on the Food Network Canada channel.

Originally from Canada, Dylan has headed up several restaurants in Cayman and is an active member of Cayman’s culinary scene. He now offers private chef and consulting services via his company Prime Group. Dylan is also an avid traveller and food writer, including a key contributor to Pink Duck Publishing’s newly launched magazine The Cayman Book.

Pink Duck Publishing’s editor-in-chief, Joanna Lewis, convinced the chef and TV host to step out of the kitchen for a quick-fire-interview on all things Fire Masters.

Congrats on taking the leap from chef to TV host – can you tell me a bit about the journey so far?

“Thanks Joanna! It’s been an exciting ride and I’m really enjoying it. This journey to television really started about a year and a half ago and a lot of work has gone in to this project so I’m happy the show is finally out there for everyone to enjoy.”

Can you tell me a little bit about Fire Masters and the overall gist of the show?

“Fire Masters is a brand-new cooking competition show based around grilling, smoking, and live fire. There are three rounds of competition, and in the third and final round the last chef standing will face-off against one of the Fire Master judges for the chance to win $10,000 and the title of Fire Master.”

What can viewers look forward to on the show?

“Viewers can look forward to some exciting competition featuring chefs (and judges) from all over North America including Mexico and the Caribbean. Any time you’re cooking on open flame there is always a larger margin of error, so it makes for some interesting and nail-biting rounds.”

What have been some of the highlights of hosting Fire Masters?

“It’s been incredible to meet the chefs and judges and see what kind of unique ingredients and cooking techniques they brought from their home kitchens to the Fire Masters’ arena.”

When did filming start and were there any challenges along the way?

“We filmed in September/October of 2018. Being on camera was certainly a new learning experience, but I really enjoyed learning about what goes into making a show like Fire Masters. I think the biggest challenge was refraining from jumping in to the area and cooking with the chefs.”

Will you be bringing any new cooking tips back to Cayman, courtesy of Fire Masters?

“I’d love to be able to do more open-fire cooking here in Cayman. Maybe some Francis Mallmann-style events on the beach with large pieces of meat, fish, and local produce. That would be a lot of fun.”

It looks like you have worked with some amazing judges on the show – are there any that have particularly inspired you as a chef?

“I’m certainly inspired by all the BBQ style judges; their mastery of fire and smoke is amazing. I also connected well with Hugh Mangum from Mighty Quinns BBQ in New York and Dale McKay from Ayden Kitchen & Bar in Saskatoon. I really enjoy watching them cook, you can see the passion they put into their food, it really comes through in the flavours.”

What would you say to any young chefs in Cayman hoping to one day emulate your success?

“I would say don’t get into cooking with the sole intention of getting on TV. Cooking professionally is a demanding career that takes long hours, hard work, and a lot of sacrifice. You really need to love your craft if you’re going to succeed in this business so put your head down and grind. Earn your stipes.”

What’s your next culinary adventure?

“I’m working on a few exciting projects here in Cayman, but I’m not able to disclose them yet. So, stay tuned, everyone will know when the time comes.”

Finally, how long does the series run and at what day/time does the show air?

New episodes every week for the next 8 weeks on Food Network Canada (which airs 9 p.m. Cayman time).