A dozen Grand Strand restaurants featured in upcoming cooking competition series

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 11:32 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2022 at 11:34 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) -- Ciao Italian restaurant is one of the 12 restaurants along the Grand Strand selected to participate in a new cooking competition on The Cooking Channel.

‘Chef Swap at The Beach’, hosted by celebrity chef Amanda Freitag, has contestants from each restaurant swap kitchens and create a new dish. They are then evaluated by a panel of judges.

“We got recruited by the right people I guess,” said Claudia Hysa, owner of Ciao.

Hysa said when she got the call, the decision to say yes wasn’t automatic.

“We had to think about it because being busy and then having a production while we are running dinner service is a lot,” she said. “It all worked out because they accommodated our schedules.”

In business for 15 years, Ciao is an Italian restaurant, with a popular seafood menu.

“We get great local fish, shellfish,” she said.

Tidal Creek Brewhouse in Market Common is also participating in the show. For the owner, Dara Sawczak, it was a no-brainer when asked if they wanted to join.

“They really wanted to highlight a lot of the cuisine along the Grand Strand and being new to the scene we thought it would be something fun,” said Sawczak.

Opening the business during the height of the pandemic two years ago was a challenge, but they were able to push through. Sawczak has an outlook that any publicity that comes with a reality show appearance can mean a bump up in business.

“I think this is a pretty exciting opportunity for the Grand Strand, and I’m proud to be a part of this production and highlight our area so that more people can find us,” said Sawczak.

When speaking about the opportunity for Myrtle Beach to be highlighted on the new show, Chamber President and CEO Karen Riordan emphasized the uniqueness of the culinary scene in Myrtle Beach.

“Myrtle Beach is a culinary destination unlike any other,” Riordan said. “With over 2,000 restaurants offering tried-and-true favorites next to innovative flavors.”

In addition to Ciao and Tidal Creek Brewhouse, Chef Freitag and her team of judges visit 44 & King, Big Mike’s Soul Food, Bistro 217, Bonfire-a Smokin’ Taqueria, Drift, Hook & Barrel, Johnny D’s, Perrone’s, Sea Captain’s House, and Winna’s Kitchen.

The premiere episode of ‘Chef Swap’ is scheduled to air on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. on the Cooking Channel.