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Yazoo City Chef to Compete on Food Network's "Chopped"

Chef Claire Campbell of Ubons BBQ in Yazoo City, Miss., cooks with pork tenderloin, eggplant, Tennessee whiskey, and pulled pork nachos during the appetizer round, as seen on Chopped, Grill Masters Special.

On Tuesday, August 14th, Memphis-style barbecue will take over the Food Network show Chopped. This summer, Chopped brought back its popular Grill Masters tournament, but this year there's a barbecue twist. The show assembled a lineup of grill masters from four popular barbecue regions across the country: Kansas City, North Carolina, Texas and, of course, Memphis.

“This season of Chopped Grill Masters is more competitive than ever before,” said Courtney White, general manager and executive vice president of programming for the Food Network and HGTV. “With a national stage, it isn’t just local bragging rights at stake, the chefs need to also bring their absolute best to the Chopped kitchen if they want to win, not only for themselves, but for their home state.”

Not all the contestants are actually Memphians, but all have a passion for Memphis' signature style of barbecue. One of the contestants is even from Yazoo City. 25 year old Claire Campbell of Ubons BBQ in Yazoo will appear on the upcoming episode.

Claire has grown up in the world of competition barbecue. When she was 3 years old, her family started bringing her along when their barbecue team competed.

“I first started out just setting up chairs for judging,” she said. “And I eventually worked my way up to cooking whole hogs.”

Now 25, she is quick to point out not to judge a book by its cover.

“I have been in the world of barbecue for over 20 years so I have more experience than most people older than me, as they probably didn’t start until later in life," she said.

Campbell spends her days working in cooking and nutrition education. In her free time, she competes on the Yazoo City, Mississippi-based Ubons BBQ team, which recently won sixth place overall at the Memphis in May contest.

Tune in to Food Network at 8 p.m. on August 14th to watch Claire compete against three other chefs. The winner will move on to the championship on August 28th to battle it out for the $50,000 grand prize.

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