COVINGTON- The dream of being his own boss just keeps getting bigger for Jeffrey Hansell.
Now owner and head chef of two Covington restaurants, Hansell's cooking creations have gone beyond the boundaries of the walls of upscale Ox Lot 9 and hip Smoke BBQ to the lights and action of a Food Network kitchen stage.
"It was eye-opening, I've never kind of seen that side of the industry, but it was definitely a learning experience," said Hansell.
Hansell will be stepping into the national spotlight on the show "Beat Bobby Flay" on Thursday night.
First, he'll take on another chef in a cooking competition using only ingredients chosen by world-renowned Flay. If he wins round one, Hansell gets to go head to head with Flay making his own specialty dish. The experience is one Hansell can't talk too much about just yet, but that he's quietly excited since it'll showcase his work across America.
"I wouldn't be able to do it without our staff here, and my wife especially," he said, "It gives us an opportunity to grow our business and think of new concepts."
As Chef Hansell climbs this ladder to national notoriety, he says he is overjoyed to be able to take Covington and it's quaint reputation with him.
"My wife and I, we fell in love with this city as soon as we got here, actually before we got here," he said, "It's such a great gem that not a lot of people know about that we love sharing with everybody we come across. And I would like nothing more than for them to be a part of this."
And he's hoping you'll be a part of it too.
"Watch, it'll be a good one," he said.
The show "Beat Bobby Flay" airs Thursday night at 9 p.m. on the Food Network. The Southern Hotel, where Ox Lot 9 is based, is hosting a watch party in the courtyard for the Halloween-themed episode called "Boils and Toils."
Chef Hansell is also taking part in a special event in downtown Covington on October 29th called "Supper Under the Stars." The wine dinner is in collaboration with Del Porto Ristorante across the street and will be held in block party fashion down the middle of North New Hampshire Street. The dinner is from 6p-10p and costs $175 a person, all-inclusive. Call to reserve seats: 985-400-5663.