What a journey for a local home chef

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, February 8, 2022

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When he sent in an application to be on the debut season of a FOX TV show, Jon Harrison didn’t know just how big he would become or just how much fan support he would receive.

Joining Chef Gordon Ramsay’s first season of the hit new show Next Level Chef, Harrison, a Columbiana resident, quickly became a fan favorite after performing extremely well through the first three episodes.

His hometown gathered for several watch parties, fans from across the state, and particularly here in Shelby County, watched with the devotion of watching an Alabama or Auburn football game, and his Instagram Lives after each episode took off with fans from across the country.

That was no different right here in our newsroom.

Harrison, who actually worked in our office at one point, became a sensation among our staff as we watched each episode intently from having the top dish to slicing his own finger to his sad elimination from the competition on the Wednesday, Feb. 2 episode.

It was truly inspirational to see the home chef make a run to the top 10 of the competition in front of three of the world’s top chefs.

It surely has set him on the path to accomplish some big dreams cooking his own dishes moving forward.

More than that, however, the support he received was astounding.

After each episode, we would come into the office and break down what we had watched the night before, fully sucked into the reality show.

And that was the case throughout many communities, which was even more obvious after his elimination.

He got hundreds of comments on his post saying how thankful he was. Each one of them talked about how proud they were and how much they enjoyed watching him.

It not only took a lot of guts to apply for the show, but to cook in front of three of the world’s elite chefs and do so with the confidence he did. That’s courage.

Especially for someone who isn’t a professional chef.

That, however, will surely change as he moves forward.

Now that he has exited the show, he not only leaves with the experience of a lifetime, but he leaves with many ready to line up to try his food.