By Lara Alexander
You may recognize an Edmonds local on TV next week. Tim Morris, owner of Epulo Bistro on Main Street, will be competing with five other contestants on Rachael Ray’s “”Hey, Can You Cook?! 5″
Ray, the girl-next-door celebrity cook with numerous TV shows and product lines to her name, is known for her cute expressions and accessible recipes. “The Rachel Ray Show,” which airs on KIRO 7 at 3 p.m., will feature the elimination cooking competition beginning Friday, Oct. 28 and continuing every Friday for three weeks.
Morris first appeared in April 2009 on “Hey, Can You Cook?! 4,” filmed on a Disney Cruise to the Caribbean. “I had submitted a recipe to ‘The Rachael Ray Show,’ and was called, interviewed and lucky enough to be chosen!” says Morris. “Two years later I get a call from ‘The Rachael Ray Show’ updating my contact information, which I thought was strange. The next thing I knew they were asking me if I wanted to go to Mexico. I didn’t hesitate!”
The current series of “Hey Can You Cook?!” was filmed on location in Oaxaca and San Miguel, Mexico. In Oaxaca, contestants completed a chocolate-themed challenge led by Chef Marcela Valladolid. The second elimination challenge took place in the city of San Miguel, Mexico, where contestants were asked to cook a meal using the staple foods of the native people. “The native ingredients used in the challenge include corn, squash, cactus, chilis and verdolagas, that are all to be cooked on a traditional Brasero grill,” explained Morris.“It is an experience you have to watch. I can’t explain it but it will be very entertaining!”
Although Morris is enjoying his moment in the TV spotlight, cooking is nothing new. “I grew up in the food industry,” he says. At age 15, Morris began working for the burger restaurant that his father had owned. By age 21, he started his first food service outlet in Seattle’s Rainier Square. He went on to start a gourmet fast food pasta joint called Lucca’s Pasta Bar, located in Bellevue Square, Alderwood Mall, Northgate Mall and Tacoma Mall. “Once I sold those stores in 2000, I went into commercial real estate, but my heart has always been in food and food service,” says Morris. “It was my passion.”
“After appearing on ‘The Rachael Ray Show’ in 2009, my father and business partner died and I was very sad and in a quandary, wondering what now?” Morris recalls. At the same time, his good friend purchased the building that would later house Epulo Bistro and asked Morris if he wanted to open a restaurant. “It was perfect timing,” says Morris, “I opened Epulo Bistro six months later. I know my father would have been so proud.”
Tune in next week to see how far Morris advances in the competition. You can even watch the first episode at Epulo Bistro. Their Facebook page invites the public for a viewing party beginning at 2:30 p,m. The episode runs from 3-4 p.m. and free snacks and drink specials will be available.
A culinary adventurer, Lara Alexander grows, cooks and writes about food from her home in Edmonds. You can read about her garden and kitchen fun on the blog Food-Soil-Thread.