A Utah chef's seafood dish is being featured on Red Lobster's menu across North America.
Kelsey Nixon of North Ogden is a finalist on "The Next Food Network Star," and in Sunday night's episode, contestants were challenged to make a fresh seafood dish using an unlikely ingredient.
Nixon's unlikely ingredient was white chocolate, and she used it a buttery sauce to make White Chocolate Macadamia Crusted Tilapia. Red Lobster's executive chef Michael LeDuke, serving as a guest judge, helped select Nixon's dish as the winner. It went on the restaurant chain's "Fresh Fish Today" menu Monday.
It was a good night for the Brigham Young University graduate, who also nailed a one-minute "technique" video showing viewers how to french the bones on a rack of lamb. Guest judge Tyler Florence, host of the Food Network's "Tyler's Ultimate," complimented Nixon for the energy she displayed. This was a contrast with past episodes, where her bubbly personality was criticized by other Food Network judges as "overcaffeinated cheerleader."
"When Tyler Florence says, 'I like your energy,' I was thinking I'm glad that someone with the Food Network does," Nixon's responded.
Last week, a teary-eyed Nixon narrowly escaped elimination after her "Sloppy Janes" dish was dismissed by guest judge Martha Stewart, who said, "I never eat that kind of food."
But after winning the two challenges Sunday night, Nixon said, "All of a sudden I'm a contender, and I'm back in it."
While majoring in broadcast journalism at BYU, Nixon created a cooking show, "Kelsey's Kitchen," that aired on iProvo cable TV. She also has a culinary arts degree. In a previous interview, Nixon said she had been sending in demo videos to the Food Network for several years before being chosen as a finalist.Nixon is one of five remaining finalists, with the winner getting a six-episode Food Network show. Challenges leading up to the June 27 finale include cooking with an 8-year-old Girl Scout, creating a signature dish while being peppered with questions from Paula Deen, and creating a lavish Las Vegas buffet.