Barre restaurant owner shows off skills on Food Network

By  | 

BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) A Barre restaurant owner is showing off his culinary skills on the Food Network.

Stefano Coppola owns Morse Block Deli on Main Street in Barre. Before he got the call to go on "Guy's Grocery Games," he says his proudest moment was hitting the two-year mark for his restaurant.

The episode was taped almost six months ago and will finally air for the first time Wednesday. He says the cold call from the show came as a shock.

"At first I thought it was one of my friends joking around and I was like, 'Ah, get out of here.' And he was like, 'No, seriously,'" said Coppola.

After he realized it was not a prank call, Coppola quickly learned his social media presence was what put him on the radar of the show's producers. Next thing he knew he was on a plane ready to compete for the $20,000 prize.

"It was really fast paced and really intense," said Coppola.

The intensity of the show started when he saw Flavor Town, the grocery store in the game. He says he calmed his nerves by using his deli experience with fresh produce and international flavors.

"It literally had anything you could ever imagine, it was the grocery store of a chef's dream," said Coppola.

The excitement of watching Coppola is the talk of the deli and customers like Gregory Gilman are ready to support him.

"He's the man at making sandwiches," Gilman said.

Gilman has been eating at Morse Block Deli for more than two years and says he's excited to see Coppola compete, especially since the episode is a sandwich challenge.

The excitement isn't lost on the people who work there either. Employee Sara Chase says she'll be supporting and watching her boss on TV, but mostly keeping an eye on Stefano in real life.

"I'm going to really enjoy watching him squirm watching himself on camera," said Chase.

We asked Coppola how he did but he's not allowed to reveal the results.

"I did well. I can't say how well I did, but I did well. I'm sure I'm doing Vermont proud," he said.

There will be a viewing party at the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier for the episode that airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday.