Chef Clay grills it in new cooking show | News

A self-described, long-haired “mountain guy” who enjoys fly fishing and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle, Clay White is not what most people imagine a personal chef to be.

“I’m a bit of a character,” he laughs.

That outsized personality and her cooking prowess proved a mouth-watering mix for the producers of Eat This TV, a cooking and lifestyle network that broadcasts programs to nearly 44 million American homes.

White was asked to film an hour-long pilot titled “Grilling with Chef Clay,” then was asked to return to New York to film another 12 episodes of his eponymous show. The entire season was shot in a single week in early August.

“Since I’ve been hosting the show, I’ve had full creative control. I was trying to stay away from a game show type show. What I’ve developed is more like a game show old fashioned cooking. It’s just me showing people how to make good honest food. I keep it real.

Each 30-minute episode focuses on North Carolina-style grilling, smoked meats, and barbecue, plus a few Southern-style desserts and appetizers.

White said he always wanted to be a professional chef. Growing up in Fayetteville, he didn’t have to look far for inspiration.

“My grandmother was an amazing cook and I was one of those kids who ate anything.”

At age 16, White started his own restaurant business, but a desire to attend cooking school prompted him to join the military after high school. A combat veteran, he served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm before returning to Fort Bragg.

Honorably discharged and ready to return to the kitchen, White was disappointed to find that the GI Bill would only cover one semester of private culinary school. Undeterred, he started working in restaurants and doing private catering on the side.

Clay White also competes under the Boar-BQ team name. Photo added

After moving to Pinehurst in the mid-1990s, he took a job as a golf caddy for a year, “to get his foot in the door”. White then worked at the Carolina Hotel for a few years and continued to hone his craft working in some of the fine dining restaurants in southern Moore County.

He eventually fulfilled his dream of going to culinary school, graduating with honors from Sandhills Community College in 2014. White also simultaneously pursued his passion for barbecuing, competing in statewide competitions. and serving on the board of the North Carolina Barbecue Society. He is also a Court of Masters Guild and Society of Wine Educators Certified Sommelier.

White’s busy schedule these days is split between his two passions. He operates a private restaurant and fine dining service under his trade name, Chef Clay. Then, when he’s barbecuing, he restores, competes and teaches under the business name Boar-BQ.

You can catch Grilling with Chef Clay which is set to air on Eat This TV and Roku in September. The cooking show’s pilot episode can be viewed now on YouTube.