PHOENIX - Two Arizona chefs have seared, pureed, chopped and glazed their way into the winner's circle of "Guy's Grocery Games," the Food Network show hosted by Guy Fieri.
Russel LaCasce, executive chef at Hotel Valley Ho's ZuZu Restaurant, and pastry chef Audrey Enriquez, bested the competition, seeming to soar through each of the timed games with ease.
On the episode, called "Sweet and Savory Duos," chefs were challenged to craft, cook and plate sweet and savory dishes (an entree and dessert) in 30 minutes following a specific set of rules, such as having to use a vegetable in both.
After each round, one chef, or in this case team, was sent home until only one remained. The winner(s) then gets to go on a scavenger hunt through the grocery store for the chance at $20,000.
The Hotel Valley Ho duo racked up $16,000 in winnings. On the show, Chef LaCasce said he wanted to take his family on a vacation. As for Chef Enriquez, she said she would use the money to pay her student loans from culinary school.
The episode featured another Arizona duo: husband-and-wife team Joe and Dara Rodgers, who co-own Shift FLG in Flagstaff. They were eliminated in the first round.
During the last cooking round, the chefs were tasked with creating a steakhouse dish and dessert on a $25 budget.
Chef LaCasce joined Hotel Valley Ho in 2017. He previously worked as a sous chef at T. Cooks, the signature restaurant at Royal Palms Resort & Spa, and Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa.
Chef Enriquez also joined Hotel Valley Ho in 2017. Before that, she was the pastry chef at Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes and Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa.
Other Arizona chefs have also appeared on the Food Network show.
Chefs Jeff Conley, owner of Salsa Brava in Flagstaff, and Stephen Jones, founder of The Larder + The Delta, in Phoenix, have both been on "Guy's Grocery Games," according to other media reports.
It's also not the first time Guy Fieri has highlighted Arizona's culinary creators.