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Jernard Wells

Tune in

› What: “Comeback Kitchen”

› When: 9 p.m. today

› Where: Food Network (Comcast channel 58, EPBFI channel 65).

 

It has been a year since viewers last saw chef Jernard Wells on the Food Network. Tonight he stages a comeback.

He's one of 12 competitors in the new show "Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen," which will air for three weeks at 9 p.m.

The winner of that show will be announced June 10 and will compete in "Food Network Star" for 12 more weeks. It's hosted by chef Tyler Florence and actress and cooking show host Valerie Bertinelli.

Producers already recorded all 15 weeks, but Wells gives no clue of the outcome.

"You just got to tune in to see," he says. "But just know I always represent the home team of Chattanooga well."

Wells specializes in cooking "Southern modified" food, which he describes as having the rich taste of Southern cooking, but made more healthful.

Wells, a husband of 19 years and father of nine, lived in Chattanooga from about 2007 to 2017 and is one of three founders of Chattanooga Wing Co. on McCallie Avenue. He now lives in Atlanta, where he is one of three founders of Eastern Wave Asian Fusion Restaurant.

He says his goal is to combine food with love to unify people. He loves to cook and entertain.

Wells was last on the Food Network in 2017 as a judge on "Chopped: Junior," a spinoff from "Chopped" that tasks young chefs with creating a dish from a mystery ingredient.

Before that he was runner-up on "Food Network Star," which grants the winner his or her own series, and he's the 2014 and 2015 winner of "Cutthroat Kitchen," a cooking competition in which the chefs must be able to outwit and even sabotage their opponents to win.

"I was the runner-up on 'Food Network Star' two years ago. And if you are the runner-up or your ratings are good or the network really loves you, they bring you back to "Comeback Kitchen" to compete all over again for a spot on 'Network Star,'" he says.

He's been on Food Network for nearly nine years.

"I'm a competitive chef," he says. "That's what I do. I started off competing on shows, 'Chef Wanted' with Anne Burrell. I'm one of the only chefs to win 'Cutthroat Kitchen' two times in a row on Food Network and then went over to doing 'Food Network Star.'

"It's a career and a lifestyle. I love battling at the end of the day."

Contact Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.

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