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JJC culinary students to cook with Food Network star

(Left right) Jake Bernard Amy Gutierrez Joe Biskie Kristyn Chatlosh are seen RialSquare Theatre Thursday April 18 2013 Joliet. The

(Left to right) Jake Bernard, Amy Gutierrez, Joe Biskie and Kristyn Chatlosh are seen in the Rialto Square Theatre Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Joliet. The four culinary arts students from Joliet Junior College will be helping Robert Irvine, star of the Food Channel, when he does his show at the Rialto on Saturday. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 20, 2013 7:38PM



You don’t have to watch more than one episode of “Restaurant: Impossible” to know that Robert Irvine can be very tough on chefs.

How tough?

“It’s pretty nerve-racking to see him on TV, and you wonder if that’s what he’s really like,” said Amy Gutierrez, of Joliet. “I hope he doesn’t throw something.”

Gutierrez gets to find out Saturday.

She and three other students from the Joliet Junior College Culinary Arts program will work with Irvine before his show on Saturday at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. One yet to be selected will even go on stage with the celebrity chef of the Food Network.

They will assist Irvine in his culinary preparations for the Rialto.

Just what they’ll be doing, the JJC students don’t know. But they’re ready to do whatever Irvine wants.

“We’re just going to follow his lead,” said Jake Bernard, of Joliet. “We’re all new in our careers. It’s a great opportunity to work with someone who knows what they’re doing and is a celebrity.”

A bit nervous about it, yes, all four students said. But they’re more excited than nervous.

“It’s not often you get to work with a celebrity chef, especially being so young as we are in our careers,” said Krystyn Chatlosh, of Frankfort.

Irvine is the star of “Restaurant: Impossible.” The show features Irvine going into restaurants that need help — often lots of it — and Irvine delivering advice in a straight-forward manner not unlike one would imagine Gen. George S. Patton would have done if he had chosen to be a celebrity chef rather than one of the great military leaders of World War II.

Irvine pulls no punches.

The JJC students are ready to stand in without flinching.

“He sets a high standard,” said Joe Biskie, of Morris. “It’s not an unattainable standard, I don’t think.”

This is not the first go-around with a celebrity at the Rialto for Biskie or Bernard. They both formerly worked at Thayer’s 158 North in downtown Joliet and have brought food to such performers as Cheech and Chong, Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Cosby.

Of course, it’s different this time in that their skills will be under the watch of a scrutinizing expert like Irvine. But all four students are also on the JJC Culinary Arts Competition Team, which puts up its skills against culinary arts programs across the country. It’s a rugged pursuit that takes up at least 40 hours a week of their time in addition to work and school. So, facing a master like Irvine, no matter how intimidating he may seem on TV, is the kind of thing they live for.

If Irvine does throw something, Gutierrez will be happy to be there and duck.

“I’m really excited to meet Robert Irvine and help him out,” she said. “It’s not often you get an opportunity like this knocking on your door.”

The show begins at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Rialto, located at 102 N. Chicago St. in downtown Joliet. Tickets are still available. For ticket information, call 815-726-6600 or visit www.rialtosquare.com.



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