Local chefs battle in Food Court Wars 7/5/2013

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 7, 2013

Local chefs battle in Food Court Wars

By Emily D. Williams

Local chefs Erika Lipe and Steven McCain will be featured in a reality TV cooking competition on the Food Network Sunday at 9 p.m.

The new series, Food Court Wars, was filmed earlier this spring and each week features two teams competing for the chance to open a restaurant, rent-free for one year in a mall food court. The six-episode series is hosted by celebrity chef Tyler Florence, who each week selects different teams in a different part of the country.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Filmed in a Meridian mall, the first episode features Erika and Steven serving New Orleans style po’ boy sandwiches. They are in competition with a Mississippi husband and wife team, Mary and Thomas Jordan, known for their tamales.

“We were told to be prepared to feed 250, but it was more like 350,” Erika said.

“We are really in the dark about it. We don’t know what to expect,” Erika said

The 28-year-old chefs (who are also musically inclined and perform with local bands) started working together in 2008 at an upscale restaurant, Waltz on the Square in Oxford.

Now the Batesville natives and best friends live in Oxford and work in restaurants there, Erika at Lenora’s and Steven at McEwen’s.

Newt Rayburn, publisher of The Local Voice, an Oxford publication, watched some of the filming.
“I was able to watch them on two separate days of shooting and both days Erika and Stevo were busting their chops to serve customers,” Raburn said.

“They were really busy and worked closely together to make their restaurant work…The show is a competition and I can tell you Erika and Stevo took it seriously and worked very, very hard. I hope they win!”