UConn Magazine: In America’s Test Kitchen

Garrett Schlichte’s dinner parties were so buzzy, they got him cast on a next-big-thing cooking show

Portrait of Garrett Schlichte

(Contributed photo)

Garrett Schlichte ’15 MA, an upbeat copywriter from San Francisco, has never backed down from a new adventure. So when he saw a casting call on Instagram for a new television cooking competition, he thought “Why not?”

He was not only cast in “America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation,” but made it to the finale, beating competitors with such dishes as lemon ricotta dumplings and pavlova with key lime lemon curd.

Each episode challenged the home cooks to make and present meals for the chance to win $100,000 and become the next on-air chef on the PBS series “America’s Test Kitchen.”

Since this was the first time “American’s Test Kitchen” had produced a cooking show, the cast had no idea what to expect. They weren’t sure whether it would be a cutthroat competition like “Top Chef” or a more wholesome, collaborative show like “The Great British Baking Show.” It ended up being more wholesome and educational.

“None of the challenges were like, ‘Here’s gummy worms and tree bark. Now make a meal out of it.’ There were never really any big we’re-trying-to-make-you-look-ridiculous moments.”

For the finale, Schlichte and two other finalists prepared two dishes, produced a photo shoot of the food, then demonstrated how they made one of the dishes on camera. Schlichte — spoiler alert — ultimately lost to Antoinette Johnson, but loved the experience.

Read on for more.