Flavortown champ: Sister Lakes chef wins Food Network’s ‘Guy’s Grocery Games’

Published 10:34 am Thursday, January 4, 2024

FLAVORTOWN — A Sister Lakes chef conquered “Flavortown” Wednesday night.

Sister Lakes Brewing Co. Executive Chef Justin Paruskiewicz walked away with $16,500 in winnings after rallying to win the Food Network show “Guy’s Grocery Games” by one point.

Hosted by Food Network star Guy Fieri, each episode consists of four chefs from across the country running through the aisles in a grocery store cooking competition. The chefs are faced with challenges such as trying to find workarounds when all the essential ingredients are suddenly “out-of-stock” or having to create a masterpiece when they can only cook with “5 items or less” or on a $10 budget. 

Once chefs prepare their dishes, they present them to a panel of judges. The winner of the competition has the opportunity to earn up to $20,000 in prize money.

On Paruskiewicz’s episode, titled “One stop speed shop,” Fieri invited the four chefs to “break the world shopping speed record” as they grabbed everything they needed to make two complete meals in a single four-minute shop. To up the ante, the chefs had to grab a ‘must-use’ red light special ingredient mid-shop. 

The chefs were then tasked with cooking a weeknight favorite in round one and an upscale dinner with what they had left, plus one more item from a designated aisle chosen at random in round two.

Paruskiewicz said he decided to appear on GGG for the opportunity to compete against some of the best chefs in the country. A hockey player in high school, Paruskiewicz added that his experience on the ice has helped him in the culinary world.

“I wanted to know if I could do it,” he told Food Network. “I’ve worked in some really, really great restaurants, steakhouses and seafood houses. It’s stressful, but I used to be a very competitive hockey player in high school and now I have that in the kitchen.”

After emerging victorious, Paruskiewicz had the opportunity to either play a final game to win up to $20,000 or take a mystery check, with Fieri announcing a minimum possible value that varies between episodes. Paruskiewicz chose the check and pledged to donate a portion to the Beagle Freedom Project, which according to its website is “the world’s leading organization for rescuing and rehoming animals used in experimental research.” 

With his earnings, he also plans to throw a party for his restaurant staff.

“I think they’re just going to be really happy that I pulled it off,” Paruskiewicz said.

Paruskiewicz was happy to be able to support a cause he is passionate about and to compete on a national stage.

“I was very fortunate to win by one point against two great chefs,” Paruskiewicz said. “I have the experience now, I’ve been to Flavortown, I’ve met these amazing people; it’s well worth it.”