Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer don’t have a television.
But the proprietors of Minnesota and Wisconsin’s Chef Shack food trucks and restaurant — Carlson cooks the savory smoked meats and Summer makes the sweets — have made their share of TV appearances.
Including last night, on “Beat Bobby Flay,” the Food Network competition that pits chefs head-to-head against the celebrity.
(If you don’t want the ending spoiled, stop here and stream the episode, called “It’s a Date.”)
Last May, the couple spent nine hours on a soundstage deep in Brooklyn. Carlson and Summer competed against one another at the start, and Carlson was selected to go up against Flay.
“We’re pretty competitive and collaborative,” Summer said about their not-so-vicious rivalry.
For the main event, Carlson crafted a meatloaf sandwich inspired by her and Summer’s travels to Thailand. She brought in the flavors of ginger and lemongrass, cilantro and a quick pickle, and served it on crusty bread. And she talked about their travels.
“In Thailand, it’s more of a fried pork ball,” Carlson said. Her meatloaf version was a healthier spin, and the judges, which included Ted Allen, Alex Guarnaschelli and Alton Brown, were “complimentary.”
Flay also made a meatloaf sandwich, also with some Asian flavors. And though “it was close,” Carlson said, Flay won.
Flay was “super nice, very congenial, very professional,” Summer said.
The pair have been on a number of Cooking Channel, Food Network and Food Network Canada segments. Last year, Carlson was a judge on Cooking Channel’s “Big Bad BBQ Brawl.”
Every time the chefs appear on a cooking show, they get a bump in business, they said. Their smoked ribs special tonight at Chef Shack Bay City (6379 Main St., Bay City, WI, 715-594-3060, chefshackbaycity.com) might sell out that much faster.
But the wait was so long between the “Beat Bobby Flay” shoot and the airing, they thought the footage might have been lost. “We kind of forgot about it,” Summer said. But then they heard about a month ago it would be airing. Just enough time to find a television. (They had a watch party at the home of their friend, Lat14 chef Ann Ahmed.)
Carlson says it still makes her nervous to stand up in front of the cameras and lights. But she still recommends it.
“I would encourage people to put themselves out there,” she said. “I think it’s good to do something that scares you every day.”
Summer’s trick to beating stage-fright? “We always just laugh on camera,” she said. “It’s better than looking scared, or nervous or sweaty.”
Though they may not have beat Bobby Flay, as far as showing viewers who they are and what they do well, the chefs believe they won.
“We just love to make tasty food, and we love to make people happy,” Summer said. “We like to bring people together over food and drink and hospitality. I think the episode reflects that.”