Local chef enters wildcard round for Favorite Chef

Local chef Audie Louie Banania has entered the wildcard round of the Carla Hall Presents Favorite Chef competition.
Local chef Audie Louie Banania enters the wildcard round of the Favorite Chef competition. (Favorite Chef)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Local chef Audie Louie Banania has entered the wildcard round of the Carla Hall Presents Favorite Chef competition.

After narrowly missing first place in his group on Thursday, Banania is now in first place in the wildcard round.

He said the last hours of the competition on Thursday were a rollercoaster, and the voting was very close.

“One second, I’m in first, then after a couple of seconds, [then the person in second] will be first; we’re changing position first and second,” Banania said.

He believes the results of the last round weren’t announced until Friday morning because the votes were very close in the final minutes of the voting period Thursday, which ended at 7 p.m.

“When I was checking yesterday, 6:59 p.m., I was first, and all of a sudden, became second,” Banania said.

The wildcard round lasts until Sunday at 7 p.m. when the chef in first place will continue to the quarter-finals.

The owner and head chef at Audielicious has been in the Energetic City since 2013, starting as a chef at Mr. Mikes, where he stayed for around three years.

Banania then moved to work at what is now known as the Pub and Local Market in Charlie Lake and worked there until he opened Audielicious four years ago.

The chef said he had been cooking most of his life, but while living in the Philippines, he did whatever jobs he could.

“I’ve done lots of jobs in the Philippines because it’s hard in a poor country, a third-world country. But, after I graduated, I started working in the kitchen. So, now, my whole life is cooking,” Banania said.

The competition ends on August 17th, with the winner expected to be announced around August 25th.

The competition winner will receive $25,000 and appear in a two-page advertorial in Taste of Home Magazine — a food-focused publication based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The winner will also have the opportunity to cook with Carla Hall, who appeared in two seasons of Top Chef.

The Favorite Chef website offers free daily and paid voting options. Paid votes go towards the James Beard Foundation. Banania’s voting page can be found here.

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