Last night I went to a Chopped watching party for Nate Echelberger – a local pastor, half of the team Holy Smokers (check out their super awesome BBQ sauce – on shelves now in Austin, and available online at www.sauceonpurpose.com) and oh yea, an amateur chef who competed on last night’s Chopped.
When we got to the party, it was PACKED! So many people were there to support Nate, it’s clear that he’s loved by so many. I don’t even know Nate, but my husband does. So I’ve been following his Chopped story since the beginning. And I’m a HUGE fan of Chopped – my kids and I have watched it forever. I’ve even written about it before here on the Supper Club blog. And after writing about it got my own phone call that put the Traveling Psychic Supper Club’s Cable Network Connection engine in motion. But this post isn’t about us, it’s about Nate, and being inspired.
So Nate ended up on Chopped – and I ended up at this party because of hot sauce. By a series of clicks and connections Nate and his Holy Smokers Cohort Jon entered and won a cooking contest, which lead to another cooking contest and so on. Since I’ve gotten all of this info second-hand I’ll just skip to last night – watching Chopped with 300 other people. The energy there was great - anxious and hopeful, supportive and happy. As a viewer of not only the show, but the scene going on around me, it was fun to watch. Of course nobody knew going in the outcome of the show so we all watched together, applauding and laughing through the appetizer round then…ohhh no. Nate was chopped – and as he walked down the hall, with the camera on him, he was smiling and happy and everyone at the party was cheering. We were all cheering – not because he won probably one of the craziest, anxiety provoking cooking competitions there is. No, we were cheering because he took the chance to get there in the first place. Because that show is CRAZY and he got everything on the plate, and the flavors were there. But unfortunately because he hadn’t worked with scallops straight out of the shell before (I mean really, who HAS?? we all get scallops from the store, pretty and squeaky clean…) so was some sand. So he got chopped.
But the story doesn’t end there. Last night’s party was also part of the launch of the Holy Smokers sauce.
So everyone there was there for Chopped of course, but also to be part of this inspiring new path that Nate and Jon have started on (with some help from a friend of ours, Todd – an inspiration in his own right – who helped make it happen, along with I’m sure many, many others). It was inspiring to see these guys on a path they may not have foreseen, but are taking the steps and doing it. On a path that started with entering a cooking competition, and led to their sauce on grocery store shelves and beyond. It made me reflect on my own path, that doesn’t involve sauce, but a supper club. And it made me reflect on all the people who are a part of it, and supporting it and making it happen. Can Sauce change someone’s life? Or a TV show? Sure, why not? We’ll see.