Special report: What's cooking with Cory Bahr?

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Monroe chef is about to make another appearance on national television. Cory Bahr is competing in the "Next Food Network Star" to hopefully win and get his own show.

What's cooking with Cory Bahr (Courtesy: KNOE)
What's cooking with Cory Bahr (Courtesy: KNOE)

Bahr sharpened his cooking skills in his grandmother's kitchen, not a culinary school.

"Being a southern boy I was raised by my grandparents. We had our best times around the table sharing stories, what happened that day. The good the bad and the ugly, all that right around the table but mostly my grandparents instilled a sense of hospitality," Bahr said.

It's that southern hospitality along with a passion for Louisiana homegrown ingredients that inspired Bahr to reach for the stars in the culinary world and let people know great food can be found in other places of the state than just New Orleans.

Out of hundreds of entries, this self-taught chef was chosen to be a contestant on the national show "Next Food Network Star."

"I love New Orleans, but Monroe is home and having pride of place is something is part of my foundation," Bahr said. "So when I got there, I didn't cook New Orleans food, I cooked food from my home...what I'm used to what I love."

"Next Food Network Star" puts 12 unknown chefs through an intense, pressure filled competition for two months. The winner gets their own show on the Food Network. The participants must showcase their ability to cook, but also master the art of talking to camera at the same time.

With the competition over, Cory is back home in Monroe running heritage catering. He's not allowed to say if he won "Next Food Network Star," we'll find out when the new season begins on June 4th. One thing we do know, Cory will wow the country with his culinary creativity and craftsmanship.

"New flavors are what interest me. I love to take our local ingredients, whatever is in the garden, what I'm seeing from my fishermen and use that in new and exciting ways," Bahr said.

Whether Bahr becomes the next big thing on Food Network or not, we know he's caught the attention of major players in the food industry. This is all because his grandmother gave him a deep seated desire to be hospitable and to follow his dream.

"It's just determination not being willing to take no for an answer," Bahr said. "Just like you see the revitalization of downtown Monroe really each and every day our community gets more and more vibrant because people don't take no for an answer and forge ahead, and if you believe in something do it. That's what I've done."