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Chef Jonathan Dearden wins first round of The Chew's Best Chef on the Block

Yesterday we let you know that one of our very own would be competing on ABC's hit show The Chew all this week as part of the "Best Chef on the Block" competition pitting six regional chefs against one another. And today we have more good news as Chef Jonathan Dearden has won the first round of the competition, sailing past other East Coast competitors with his take on a seafood paella.

"I'm SUPER EXCITED," said Dearden in an email between filming. "There was so much anticipation leading up this, and I was going up against some serious talent in the East Coast. I have never competed in a cooking competition before so this was a new feeling of happiness. Iā€™m very grateful."

When The Chew asked for family-favorite recipes, Dearden said he chose to make a risotto-style seafood paella because it was a dish his Brazilian nanny made when he was a kid.

"When my brother and I where younger, we had a live-in nanny from Brazil," said Dearden. "She made paella for us every Sunday that we absolutely loved! It was our favorite thing to eat, especially since we normally ate basic American food. This dish felt special and I had no idea what it truly was until I became a chef. So I chose to do a paella ā€“ risotto style ā€“ with chorizo, shrimp, calamari, mussels, green peas, and curry butter."

On Thursday February 22, he will take on the winner of the West Coast competitors as they compete for the title of "Best Chef on the Block." The winner will get to cook his or her signature dish with The Chew crew on Friday, February 23.

See Chef Dearden's full recipe for his seafood paella with chorizo, shrimp, calamari, mussels, green peas and curry butter online at



  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander
  • 1 and 1/8 teaspoons chili flake
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons curry powder


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 and 3/4 cups white onion (peeled, diced)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic (peeled, minced)
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Paella spice (recipe above)
  • 1/3 teaspoon saffron
  • 4 and 1/2 cups calasparra or aborio rice
  • 4 cups white wine
  • 16 cups chicken stock


  • 4 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3 and 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup store-bought mango puree (plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 limes (zested, juiced)


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 links fresh chorizo (casing removed, diced)
  • 1/2 pound swordfish or bass fillets (skinless, diced)
  • 1 pound shrimp (cleaned, deveined)
  • 1 pound mussels (cleaned, rinsed, cracked or open mussels discarded)
  • 1/2 pound calamari (tubes and tentacles only)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 cups frozen peas (thawed)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Tune in to The Chew on Thursday February 22nd to watch Chef Dearden take on the West Coast winner as they battle it out to be named "The Best Chef on the Block."