Odd But Friendly: The Ultimate Chopped Fans

I have a lot of friends in all parts, whether they’ve  eaten my food or seen me on TV. I love to visit with folks and I have even been known to burn the bread while shooting the bull with someone.  Some of these friends are what I call first timers- we meet them only one time. I guess it’s easier for me, because that way I make a good first impression and before I have had time to give them food poisoning we hit the road and are gone out of sight. I may not ever see them again… man why couldn’t It be that way with my mother- in- law?!

After Chopped Grill Masters aired last year in August, we were overrun with calls, letters and emails. And we answered them all, we did. There are certain ones that still stand out but none stranger than this. Now it happens a lot in life when someone calls or bumps into you and says if I’m ever in the neighborhood I’m going to drop by but most of the time that never happens. We got a call from a couple in Palmer, Alaska. They had seen me on Chopped and said they would be around the Oklahoma area in June and wanted to come to our restaurant to eat. Well, the little wife explained that  we don’t have a restaurant and only do onsite catering.

However, the more we got to thinking about it, what are the odds of two folks traveling nearly 5000 miles to come and eat supper? I think you would have better odds  winning the lottery.  So we figured if they were  around our area they sure could swing by for a visit. What  do you do with Alaskan folks to entertain them? Maybe talk about the weather for a couple of hours. Do they know Sarah Palin? Does it really stay dark all winter and light all summer? We decided maybe we should watch some Ice Road Truckers and brush up on our Alaskan history.

But I knew we’d do our best to be hospitable and cook them a steak, with all the trimmings- that will impress them!

Soon our night to entertain came around and Doug and Diane showed up at our door. I told them come on in and let’s sit in the living room and have a visit. They seemed like nice folks, but it was still early on.  All I could tell for sure was I didn’t see any weapons and I couldn’t see any Health Inspector badges.

We had a great meal sitting around the table and had a good visit. At the end, we wrapped up some souvenirs to take back with them. When they were out of the drive way and out of sight, Shannon and I went back into the house. A couple hours later we noticed the silver was missing!

Ok, that didn’t really happen. It would have made an interesting story, but as Paul Harvey said here is the rest of the story…

About a week later Shannon got a call from Diane and she said, “I don’t know how we can ever thank y’all!  But seeing as how you two were so hospitable we would like to show you our gratitude and have y’all come for supper at our house!” Now all that is well and good but my gosh it ain’t like we can just drive over this evening and break bread with these fine folks.

My little wife was in the process of telling them we didn’t want to intrude when Diane said, “We have made all the arrangements. We are going to fly y’all in and pick you up at the airport in Anchorage.” My little woman liked to have passed out! I heard Shannon telling  them they didn’t have to do that. But it was too late and they had already  gone and one-upped us!


Glacier picnic.

We sure thought this was a strange invitation, but we do love an adventure and those folks, that we had known for three hours, seemed like nice people. And sure enough it definitely proved to be  one great Alaskan adventure.


Flying over a glacier

Alaska is truly the last frontier with breath-taking views, beautiful country and the best thing of all our first two adopted Alaskan family members. And the bonus was they even had  three good pups which is a must for us and Bonehead, the beagle.

We visited and ate and visited some more.  To sit on their deck and escape the Oklahoma heat was a treat for us. But more than that, we sat for hours and visited like we had known each other for years. There are some people you meet and it comes clear, as fresh water in the barrel, these are just good folks. Friends that now have become family.  The effort those two made to show Shannon and I a trip of a lifetime was… awesome. To fly over glaciers and see mountains so tall and so close it looked like you could reach out and touch them. But what got touched were our hearts.

These Alaskans are special.  We were sure outdone by these fine folks because I told them the steak I made for them didn’t quite measure up to what they gave us. Doug and Diane have a place at our table for any meal they choose.

I remember what Diane said as they were taking us to the airport, “You know we may seem a little odd- but we’re friendly!”

Folks all I can say for sure is it did seem a little odd at first, but me and Shannon met the friendliest folks in Alaska.


Diane’s first attempt at Dutch oven cobbler.


Pigeon checking the cobbler.

28 thoughts on “Odd But Friendly: The Ultimate Chopped Fans

  1. I really enjoyed reading that. There are good folks most everywhere! Thanks for sharing. We will be watching and pulling for you tonight on Chopped.

  2. Kent,,,I think Doug and Diane must have spent a few years in Oklahoma ,,,,I can almost hear the sweet drawl she has when she says…..Y’all…….My relatives come from Chickasha and Fletcher and when they would be talking,,,,that combination of two words were laced all thru their conversations….Doug and Diane turned into family in just a short time visit……Y’all had a great time together enjoying meals together in two different states……

  3. Enjoyed your story as always! You had me when you said the silver was gone!
    Will be watching tonight! Sent the email out to the whole Airstream club and friends. Hope no sardines, but I am sure they will find something that will makes us squirm! Good luck! Ann and Paul

  4. Great story! You and your wife were gracious to them and they returned the favor. I am watching you on Chopped redemption and you make me smile. You are a true cowboy and you make the USA proud.

  5. I enjoyed the story! I am building a home in Clam Gulch on the Kenai Pennisula. Maybe I’ll run into Doug and Diane and we can cook up a good ole Kent Rollins cast iron meal together.

  6. This is a great story. I watch Chopped all the time and I have never reached out to anyone before. I just have to say that I saw you compete both times and I thought you did a great job. I think you are kind and gracious and I wish that more people were like you, especially in the face of defeat (even though I think you should have won). I’m rooting for you and your wife.

  7. I absolutely loved this story! Chef Kent I was smiling ear to ear the entire time I was reading it. It’s apparent by reading this story that you have touched many people. I saw your prior performances on Chopped, so when I noticed you were going to be on again for redemption I couldn’t have been happier for you. Now I rarely get upset over a television program, but I was praying so much that you would go home with the win that when you didn’t, all I could do was cry. You seem like a good and humble man (a rarity in Miami) and it’s so refreshing to see the love for your wife shine through your words. I hope you don’t mind that I will continue to pray for you and your wife. I wish y’all much success and an endless amount of happiness in your lives. Looking forward to read your next story.

  8. Hey my friends, thought you should have won on Chopped. Hope your both doing well. Be Blessed and have a great Thanksgiving.


  9. Pingback: FoodiePleasure | Another Chance at Redemption

  10. I absolutely loved this blog. You are such a great cook, and I enjoyed watching you on Chopped BOTH times. I firmly believe you shoud’ve won BOTH times. Your hard work showed, and your friendly disposition made you the BEST champion in my book.

  11. Hi Kent, I absolutely love your blog! First it was your genteel personality and cooking ability that captured the hearts of the Chopped judges and made fans of so many viewers, now we get to sample your excellent storytelling, confirming what we all assumed from the beginning… you are the gen-u-wine article! You make me laugh out loud, and want to read more… Bravo! I’m sending your link to all my contacts as an early Christmas gift, they’re sure to be thanking me for the intro.
    I hope our paths cross next year somewhere… Merry Christmas to you and Shannon!
    Another Okie, Kay

    • Shannon got me to writing this a little over a year ago. I never considered myself a writer but I do like a good story. We’ll have to meet up in 2015 it will be a good year for it. You take care hun and Merry Christmas.

  12. This made me tear up a bit, because what a great story, and Doug and Diane sound like people I’d be proud to know.

    I’m visiting the site tonight because I saw Chef Kent on Chopped tonight (12/26/13). I was rooting for you, even though the guy that you were ultimately up against is from my home town (New Braunfels.) Your food looked that good and you improvised so well when you came up against ingredients you weren’t familiar with.

    Y’all seem like good people yourself. Best of luck to you both (and Bonehead) in the future. And if I see you in a cooking competition again, I’ll be rooting for ya.

  13. What a beautiful story! We spent our summer traveling around Alaska by RV and loved meeting Alaskans. They are all so friendly and proud of their beautiful state. What a special treat for you and your wife to get to go there.

    Loved seeing you on Chopped and enjoy reading your blog.

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