Chef Shannon Bard Wins $25,000

She may be Sweet and petite, But chef Shannon Bard is a powerhouse in the Kitchen



Recently she was selected as Celebrity Chef in the “Kids and Chefs Cook for Success” program hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. She also had the honor of cooking a five-course dinner at the James Beard House in NYC, and both of her Seacoast restaurants were included in Food Network Magazine’s “50 States, 50 Tacos” feature last year. In December, Chef Bard faced off against top chefs in “Kitchen Inferno” on the Food Network and took home the top prize of $25,000. *This interview was conducted before the results of the show aired.

The cuisine at both of your restaurants, Zapoteca Restaurante Y Tequileria and Mixteca Taqueria Y Cantina is authentic, yet modern Mexican. How does that transform a taco? I created a Maine lobster taco here that is sautéed in duck fat, rather than deep-fried in lard as they do in Mexico and finished with tequila and chipotle powder and served in the lobster shell. My absolute favorite things are intricate moles and sauces that can take days to make. They are much more than interesting than the typical cheesy quesadilla.

How did you get selected to appear on “Kitchen Inferno”? The casting company saw an article on Fox.com about women chefs and liked what I had to say.  You’d think that I would be ecstatic to be cast but when I first received the e-mail asking me to interview, I was nearly in tears. On television everything may seem easy but if you make one wrong decision, you risk your reputation and career.

Did you find that reality television has any basis in reality? It’s actually very, very much like what you see on TV.  You are given a challenge and within a matter of minutes have to come up with what you are going to make. You then have a time limit to execute your dish using equipment and a kitchen you have never used before. Your dishes are then judged in a blind taste test so the judges have no idea who is competing and who made what. You have to have nerves of steel and keep your confidence.

You are already running two restaurants, are there more ideas in the oven?  My first cookbook “The Gourmet Mexican Kitchen” is scheduled to be released on February 17 (available now for pre-order on Amazon). I’m also in the process of launching my catering company (Salud Catering by Shannon Bard) and I recently traveled to Spain to study Spanish cuisine and have plans to open a Spanish restaurant in Portland. Lastly, I’m looking into having my sauces bottled and to be sold at area stores and in the restaurants, so lots and lots of things are in the works.

What are you going to do with the $25,000? Of course, I am assuming that you nailed it. Winning $25,000 wouldn’t be easy. I only began cooking professionally less than five years ago and feel fortunate to have gotten as far as I have so quickly. But — if I win, I’m taking my husband and five kids on a vacation to help re-pay them for the support they’ve given me over the last few years. They are my biggest fans and my inspiration for all I do.

More people you should know about

Free Form

Meet teacher, artist, dancer, volunteer and patron Amanda Whitworth.

The Eye Guy

Meet artist and creator, Tom Devaney.

Face Time

Meet mime prodigy and clowning extraordinaire, Jackie Davis.

Totally Tubular

Meet Dan Staples of Dan's Balloons in Nashua.

Tiny Worlds

Meet acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine Dan Dan who left her busy Boston job to create small worlds with mosses, plants and bonsai trees.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. New Boston's Historic Fourth of July Celebration
    New Boston, New Hampshire, loves the Fourth of July so much the whole town turns out for the...
  2. Building on Hope's 2018 Project
    Local nonprofit group Building on Hope brings new life to the Crisis Center of Central New...
  3. Best of NH 2018 This & That
    Not all of New Hampshire's best things fit neatly into categories. Here are our Editor's Picks...
  4. Walpole's New Farmer-Owned Diner
    It doesn't get much more local than this. The Hungry Diner is an extension of Walpole Valley...
  5. Best of NH 2018 Breweries, Wine, Spirits, Cocktails & Bars
    Don't just eat local, drink local! Where to find the best New Hampshire beer, wine, spirits,...
  6. Best of NH 2018 Shops & Services
    Think of this as the ultimate guide to retail therapy. Plus, get excellent recommendations for...
  7. Best of NH 2018 Arts & Culture
    Listen to music while taking in gorgeous views, see an independent film, take in a public art...
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags