Just before the holiday season, there was a loud roar in Downtown Fairfield, and it had nothing to do with townspeople getting set for a hiatus from work. The cheers and applause was all for local chef Eric Felitto, who crushed the competition on The Food Network’s popular show, Chopped.
The at-capacity viewing party for Felitto’s episode was held at The Chelsea, where he has been the executive chef since mid-2013. At the screening, locals made noise for Felitto while watching him on a 100-inch projection screen, and they witnessed him cook to one of his strengths…breakfast.
Felitto—if you didn’t know—owns three breakfast sandwich food trucks called The Tasty Yolk, so he knew the pressure was on. “I have a lot on the line here,” he said. “I’m a breakfast guy and it’s a breakfast battle.”
During the episode, the reception for Felitto got louder and louder as he advanced through each round while being judged by a panel that included Martha Stewart, Amanda Freitag, and Marc Murphy. The hard part? It wasn’t the 20-minute timed appetizer round, nor was it the 30-minute rounds for entrée, and dessert, it was keeping the episode a secret for 11 months. “I had to keep a poker face for a year,” Felitto said. “We filmed it on January 18, and I wish I never told anyone I did the show because I had to deal with questions since.”
When the crowd erupted around 9:57 p.m., the mysteriousness of whether Felitto won or not was over, and he was crowned a Chopped Champion.
Since the show aired, Felitto says that diners at The Chelsea have wanted to see him and chat more than usual, but that he’s enjoying the love he has received the Fairfield-Bridgeport area. “I’m grateful for the show because it is bringing more people in who had no idea who I was or what I was doing, and now they’re tasting my food,” Felitto said. “That’s my main goal.”
Up next for Felitto is growing his squad of Tasty Yolk trucks and he hopes for the possibility of another branch of The Chelsea. “I’d also love the opportunity to go back on the show for Chopped Champions,” he said. “For now, I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing. This is what I love to do, and for that, I feel like the happiest man in the world.”