Photo by: brad swonetz ©brad swonetz photography

brad swonetz, brad swonetz photography

Bryan Caswell's Bio

Eliminated Week Six


This true Southerner grew up hunting and fishing and says since he was a kid he could put a knife to any animal. Chef Bryan Caswell's influences come from working with some of the world's great chefs in Barcelona, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, Bangkok and New York, as well as a lifetime spent entrenched in the food cultures of South Texas and Louisiana. Houston's culinary scene has been elevated since the opening of Bryan's flagship restaurant, REEF, which has earned him several prominent culinary awards.


In addition to being a chef and restaurateur, Bryan has been appointed to Continental Airlines’ "Congress of Chefs" to develop the menu for its first-class, in-flight food service. He also co-hosts a popular weekly radio program, "Southbound Food," on Houston's radio station 1560 AM, The Game.


Bryan has positioned himself uniquely in the modern age by using technology as a platform for his businesses with his blog, Whole Fish. In the kitchen, he's intense and moves quickly, despite his 6'4", 240-pound stature. While he can come across as intimidating, this Texas chef is all heart and passion for his craft.

Bryan Caswell's Photos

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The Next Iron Chef Journals

Upon arrival on set in Los Angeles, each rival received a red journal to use for dish planning and reflection. Chef Bryan Caswell was the next chef to leave his journal behind after elimination.

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Game On

Chef Caswell, the Texan who soon became known to his fellow rivals as "Caz," came into the competition ready to win: "Whatever the Chairman throws at me, I'm going to attack it and bring it home."

Sandwich Challenge

For the very first challenge, Chef Caswell went with a twist on his favorite sandwich: "I'm addicted to the Vietnamese Banh Mi in a massive way."

Tempura Banh Mi

Chef Caswell put his own stamp on the Vietamese sandwich by using crispy fried fish — a Southern classic — as his protein.

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

At the Beach

For the next challenge, Chef Caswell chose whole amberjack as his desert island ingredient. He decided to cure it and wrote out a quick recipe for a coconut-lime broth.

Blueprint of a Dish

Chef Caswell's sketch shows all of the components that ended up on the plate he presented to the judges. On the opposite page, he plans ahead for a challenge he thinks might be next.


Judge Michael Symon said Chef Caswell's quick-cured amberjack was "ingenuous, especially with the beach conditions and time constraint."

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Thinking Ahead

Between challenges, the chefs tried to anticipate what might be next by writing down potential dishes and ideas in their journals.

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Dishes Never Seen

These pages reveal plans for dishes that Chef Caswell hoped to make if he had the chance. One idea that never materialized: shrimp wrapped in a basil leaf, then wrapped in a spring roll and fried.

Breakfast Vision

Chef Caswell's plan for the coffee and doughnuts challenge included impressive drawings (aerial and side views!) of the dishes he ultimately produced.

Showcase the Doughnut

For the second time, Chef Caswell took inspiration from Vietnam: His final plate included a Buttermilk Cake Doughnut Vietnamese Coffee and a Cake Doughnut Pain Perdu With Bacon and Coffee Syrup.

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Battle Diner

Chef Caswell was full of ideas when he was assigned a turkey sandwich with stuffing. His inspiration? "This is what you have the day after Thanksgiving, when you're sitting there watching a Bowl game."

Turkey Success

Though Chef Forgione edged him out for the win, the judges loved Chef Caswell's dish: "This is totally bangin'. It's delicious." — Michael Symon

Photo By: Leanna Creel ©Leanna Creel Inc.

Ketchup Transformation

In the condiment Secret Ingredient Challenge, Chef Caswell attempted a consomme made from ketchup.

Play by Play

Chef Caswell's notes break down the creation of his dish — a shrimp cocktail shot — from start to finish.

Chef's Breakfast

During peer judgment, Chef Caswell's spin on ketchup got mixed reviews, but no one denied that it tasted good: "I don't know if it's transformative, but it is a delight." — Chef Estes


Day at the Fair

Chef Caswell was excited about the fair challenge, and after running around to collect his ingredients, he was cool and calm — and ready to cook.

The Outlaw Grill

Notes reveal Chef Caswell's struggles with the fair's massive grill: At first it wasn't hot enough, but once cranked up, the blazing flames burned his corn.

Sub-Par Snow Cone

The judges liked Chef Caswell's Shrimp Corn Dogs and Buffalo Frog Legs, but the burnt corn doomed his Corn and Cilantro Snow Cone.


Vegas Buffet, Baby

Chef Caswell made it to Las Vegas for the toughest challenge yet: transforming the 24-hour Vegas buffet. He planned out a Gulf Coast-inspired spread.

Final Plate

The buffet that sent Chef Caswell home: Beef and Green Grape Salad; Baby Back Ribs; Chili Braised Pork Butt; Texas Style Barbecued Cracked Crab; Charred Shrimp and Fig Salad