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Chef Stewart Lyon

Boca, Asheville

Returning Competitor: Represented Curras Nuevo Cuisine and was first runner-up in the inaugural challenge.

Lyon has spent 14 years in kitchens and has worked four years as an executive chef. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, he was trained in classic French fare, but has spent the past several years preparing traditional Mexican cuisine. Lyon describes his cooking style as classic with new interpretations on themes.

Q: What secret ingredient would you like to work with?
A: I don’t really care what I get. I care more if the ingredient looks good and tastes good. I’d like an ingredient that inspires me. Ramps maybe.

Q: What edge do you have in this competition?
A: The experience of having participated last year and learning from my mistakes. I saw how we went wrong last year; it was in the organization of the final plating.

Q: Any advice for newcomers to the competition?
A: Take your time and don’t rush. You’re in charge. It’s your food. You can’t be in such a rush that you forget the presentation.

Q: Favorite celebrity chef?
A: Heston Blumenthal and David Chang.

Photograph by Matt Rose