Aspiring chef from Suffern to appear on new MTV cooking show

BY JAMES LEGGATE

Aspiring chef and Reality TV star Harrison Bader, 22, of Suffern
Aspiring chef and Reality TV star Harrison Bader, 22, of Suffern

A local man is about to have a TV dream become reality.

Harrison Bader, 22, spent several months filming reality show “House of Food” in Los Angeles, to premier Monday, March 31 at 10 p.m. The show features Bader and seven other up-and-coming chefs living together in a house like “The Real World” and competing in cooking challenges similar to “Top Chef.”

Filming the show “was an amazing experience,” Bader said. “It was life-changing. You learn a lot about yourself and a lot about others.”

Bader had no formal training in cooking before the show, but he’s had real world experience since he was young and spent time in delis and restaurants owned by his dad. As he grew older, Bader was often home alone before dinner time and wanted to help out his family, so he started cooking meals for his parents and two older brothers.

“I was always in kitchens and surrounded by food, so I always had this passion for it. I just wasn’t sure if I could make it a career,” Bader said. “This opportunity fell in my lap and it was amazing.”

Bader said his previous experience and knowledge of how kitchens run helped him on the show, but he still learned a lot during the filming.

“We were able to be as creative as we wanted to be, and it allowed everyone to push themselves to the next level,” he said. “I left with so much knowledge about food and a deeper passion to pursue a career in the industry.”

Now that the filming is finished, Bader is back home and still cooking for his family, which he said still relaxes him, only now they “beg” him to cook dinner. Bader’s also continuing to pursue cooking as a career and taking classes at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park toward that goal.

Bader is also still in contact with his castmates.

“We definitely built up a friendship,” Bader said. “We have this bond that no one else would understand, that no one else went through.”

When the show airs, Bader said he expects it will appeal to a younger audience than most cooking shows.

“I’m excited there’s a cooking show out there that the next generation can relate to,” Bader said. “Growing up, I would watch Food Network, but I didn’t have somebody close to my age or my brother’s age that I could relate to. This is definitely a different type of cooking show. We’re all young and we have this deep passion for cooking.”

While the show is airing and showing Bader competing against the other contestants, he said he’ll still be learning and practicing cooking.

“Every day I want to improve and get better at my craft,” Bader said. “I just want to be the best I can be.”

“House of Food” premieres March 31 at 10 p.m. on MTV.