San Diego Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey To Star In New Season Of Food Network's "Beachside Brawl" Cooking Competition

May 14, 2023

San Diego celebrity chef Brian Malarkey will lead the West Coast team on the second season of Food Network's Beachside Brawl culinary competition, which premiers on June 18. 

Chef Antonia Lofaso is bringing the competition back to the sand with the second season of Beachside Brawl, kicking off on Sunday, June 18 at 10pm. The foremost cooks from the East and West coasts will face-off in challenges designed to prove that their coast does it best. Leading the teams of five professional cooks are acclaimed East coast chef Eric Adjepong and San Diego's own West Coast chef Brian Malarkey. Both captains will mentor and cook alongside their teams throughout the competition. Culinary superstars Alex Guarnaschelli and Guy Fieri will judge the final round and will crown one team member the "Best of the Beach," earning a dream beach getaway worth up to $25,000.

Point Loma resident Brian Malarkey first tasted celebrity stardom when he became a finalist on Bravo's Top Chef Season 3 while working as Executive Chef of downtown San Diego's now defunct Oceanaire Seafood Room. The Bend, OR, native steamrolled his newfound stardom into his own fabric brand of restaurants with the launch of Searsucker in the San Diego Gaslamp in 2010. Malarkey went on to open and close more than a dozen other restaurants over a short time before he and then-business partner James Brennan sold off the majority share of their Enlightened Hospitality Restaurant Group to Abu Dhabi-based Hakkasan Ltd. in 2014.

Malarkey also serves regularly as a judge on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, makes regular appearances on the Today Show and Good Morning America, and was a winning mentor on ABC’s now-defunct The Taste primetime culinary competition led by the dearly-departed Anthony Bourdain. Malarkey also appeared as a cheftestant on Season 17 of Bravo’s Top Chef, dubbed the "All Stars LA" edition, and was recently on Food Network's Superchef Grudge Match cooking competition, where he lost to his longtime chef de cuisine, Carlos Anthony.

After the greatly-successful rebirth of the Malarkey empire with the launch of Herb & Wood in Little Italy in Spring 2016, Malarkey has continued to grow his culinary empire over the years. In September 2019, Malarkey and Puffer opened the $5.5 million Animae, an upscale French-meets-Japanese and Southeast Asian fusion restaurant located in the 15,000 square-foot ground floor space at downtown San Diego's uber-luxury high rise condominium building Pacific Gate by Bosa. Malarkey also opened Herb & Sea in downtown Encinitas in fall 2019. Puffer Malarkey Holdings also operate Herb & Ranch, a multi-concept food hall in Orange County. 

Most recently Puffer-Malarkey took back the 7,500 square-foot Herringbone space in La Jolla from the Tao Group for an incoming French bistro & steakhouse concept named Le Coq. Le Coq will reportedly be Malarkey's last restaurant. Malarkey is currently in the process of a divorce from his wife of two decades Chantelle Hartman Malarkey. This past March, Malarkey made it "social media official" with the announcement of his new sweetheart, who is 18 years his junior.

On the premiere episode of Beachside Brawl, Antonia will challenge the teams to create some of the most iconic summer foods ever, pier favorites, while playing classic boardwalk games like balloon pop and softball toss. But it’s not all fun in the sun, as each game reveals a twist including ingredients they must use or avoid using in their final dish. Throughout the seven-week competition, each challenge features coastal favorites, from fresh west coast fish tacos to buttery east coast lobster rolls, and more.

Joining Antonia each week will be a rotating guest judge, including Nate Appleman, who was previously the head chef of Malarkey's Animae restaurant, Guy Fieri, Alex Guarnaschelli, Stephanie Izard, San Diego MAGA-zine food writer Troy Johnson, Mei Lin, Jeremy McBryde, Jasmine Roth, Joe Sasto Jet Tila, and San Diego chef Claudette Zepeda.

Eric Adjepong will lead the team of talented East Coast chefs, including Nick Chavez (Wilmington, NC), Samantha Cruz (Miami, FL), Cara Nance (Lincoln, RI), Wesley Nogueira (Jacksonville, FL), and Martel Stone (Washington, D.C). Brian Malarkey will guide the accomplished chefs of the West Coast, including David Lespron (Los Angeles, CA), Emily Lim (San Francisco, CA), Cesar Oceguera (Chula Vista, CA), Jasmyne Romero-Clark (Portland, OR), and Amanda Smith (Koloa, HI).

Beachside Brawl will premier on Sunday, June 18 at 10pm PT on Food Network.