Chopped Grill Masters, Season 2: Meet the Grillers

Get to know the competitive barbecuers and chefs competing for a chance to win $50,000 in Season 2 of Chopped Grill Masters.
Save Collection

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: David Lang ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Round 1: Chris Hart — Boston

After discovering his love for barbecue, software developer Chris started competing in the barbecue competition circuit. He's since won 40 out of 150 competitions he's entered, he has cooked in the James Beard House three times, and he is a co-author of Wicked Good BBQ. Incredibly competitive, even going as far as grilling in the Boston snow, Chris has been practicing for his Chopped debut.

Round 1: Danielle Dimovski — Canada

Growing up in Canada, Danielle braved the harsh winters by occupying her time with winter sports and cooking over open fires. Eight years ago a friend invited her to a barbecue contest, and Danielle was instantly hooked. She is the pitmaster and owner of DivaQ BBQ Company and the host of BBQ Crawl. She also teaches classes and travels frequently for competitions.

Round 1: Randy Pauly — Pearland, Texas

From early on, Randy was surrounded by all the makings of a future barbecuer: He spent his summers at his grandparents' ranch in Wichita Falls and learned all about barbecue from his dad, who worked in the meat business. He's the director and pitmaster for Holy Cow Cookers, and he has been competing for 20 years, starting back in high school, and he holds eight world championship titles.

Round 1: Staci Graves Jett — Brooksville, Ky.

Growing up on a farm, Staci was exposed to country life early on, learning to hunt and fish. Her dad taught her to grill when she was age or 7 or 8. Staci got into cooking more seriously after high school, first working as a dietary cook, then in a bakery before founding her catering business, Staci's Hog Heaven, which she runs from home.

Round 2: Candy Sue Weaver — Pine Bluff, Ark.

Until about 16 years ago, Candy Sue was working in the corporate world in Texas, but she eventually joined the family business, BBQ'rs Delight, where she is currently the vice president of sales and marketing. The company manufactures wood pellets for barbecuing. Candy Sue enjoys cooking anything, anytime, anywhere, considering herself a very versatile griller, but she refuses to use a gas grill.

Round 2: Mary Brent "MB" Galyean — Charleston, W.V.

Originally MB went to college for mathematics, but she found it wasn't for her and went on to work at a number of restaurants before attending a national survival school; it inspired her to become an expedition chef. In her career she's traveled through the Amazon, the Andes and Antarctica, to name a few locations, and she cooks in camps without electricity, so Grill Masters should be a cakewalk for her.

Round 2: Matty Melehes — Jackson, Wy.

Growing up between a ski town in Wyoming during the high season and the beaches of Mexico in the summer, Matty got a feel for both winter and summer sports. His family eventually moved to Jackson Hole, but later on he left for culinary school in Vancouver before returning home. He began working at Q Roadhouse & Brewing Company straight out of culinary school and is now the chef de cuisine.

Round 2: Stan Hays — Pleasant Hill, Mo.

Growing up surrounded by a family of fantastic cooks, bakers and grillers, it wasn't until after college that Stan really got interested in barbecuing. During the day he's a director of sales for an insurance company, but his passion lies in competitive barbecuing with his family as the County Line Smokers. He's also a co-founder of Operation BBQ Relief, which helps communities ravaged by natural disasters.

Round 3: Donna Fong — Alameda, Calif.

The love for meat is in Donna's genes, as both of her parents are butchers, having run their family operation for more than 40 years in Oakland. Although she used to be a research scientist and still holds a day job as a technical writer, Donna is all about barbecue. She became a master-level-certified BBQ judge in 2004 and started competing in 2008 as a one-woman team, Butcher's Daughter BBQ.

Round 3: Harry Soo — Los Angeles

Originally a pilot from Malaysia, Harry arrived in the States in the 1980s and was introduced to barbecue while attending Texas Tech. His IT colleagues convinced him to do a barbecue competition, which he ended up winning, and since then Harry has never looked back. He is the grill master for his team, Slap Yo Daddy BBQ, which has won 27 world championships and is now a world-wide brand.

Round 3: Leslie Roark Scott — Yazoo City, Miss.

As a fifth-generation barbecuer, Leslie grew up surrounded by competitions. She learned everything she knows from her grandpa and dad, who she often teams up with in the competition circuit. She won the Grand Championship at age 19, and she has been hungry for winning ever since. With her family, she runs Ubon's Restaurant, which specializes in Memphis-style barbecue.

Round 3: Tom Spaulding — Austin

Starting out in the hospitality business at the age of 16, first as dishwasher, Tom worked his way up to manager, and eventually he ran his own restaurant in Texas. Although he's an East Coast transplant, Tom knows his way around a grill, and he's known for grilling over an open fire, Argentinian style. He runs 1843 Catering, doing outdoor events, and travels across the country for competitions.

Round 4: Angie Mar — New York City

Angie's the executive chef of The Beatrice Inn in New York City, so you would never think that she hasn't always worked in food. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute only six years ago. Before that she worked in the corporate world, only realizing she wanted a culinary career while traveling through Europe. Her passion is cooking meats on open fire, which she does at the restaurant.

Round 4: Ash Fulk — New York City

Although he grew up in California, Ash's visits with family in North Carolina ignited a love for Southern cooking and barbecue. He eventually started working at a barbecue restaurant in California, before moving to New York City and getting a job as chef de cuisine at Hill Country Brooklyn. Under his direction the restaurant earned two stars from The New York Times.

Round 4: Mike Davis — Delight, Ark.

Growing up as the son of a Baptist preacher, Mike moved around the South as a kid and found a love for barbecue early on. Although he's been a mechanic for most of his life, for the past 20 years, Mike has been traveling in his RV, competing in the barbecue circuit with his wife as the team Lotta Bull BBQ. He's won Kansas City's American Royal BBQ Contest — the world's largest — four times.

Round 4: Phil Johnson — Phoenix

Phil was born in the Bronx and raised in suburban Long Island, so no one would have expected him to get interested in grilling and barbecue. But spending time with his grandma in the kitchen inspired his love for food, and he eventually found his way into the culinary world. He runs Sammitch, a food truck in Phoenix, and enjoys competing in the barbecue circuit as the one-man show Phil the Grill Johnson.

More Grill Masters

Browse photos of the competition, read interviews with the winners of each round and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the set.

Chopped

More from:

Chopped