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Can He Parlay A Pressure-Cooking Passion Into Payoff? “ESPN BET Live’s” Tyler Fulghum Competes In Chef Guy Fieri’s Game Show

Odds are slim Fulghum presents his baked macaroni with hot dogs in "Guy's Grocery Games: Flavortown Academy" premiering tonight on Food Network, but the ESPN betting expert has skills in his quest for the $35K top prize. Here's the scoop

When ESPN BET Live host Tyler Fulghum isn’t cooking up bets, he’s literally cooking … as in food. Usually, it’s behind closed doors feeding himself, friends, or family, but soon, it’ll be for the world to see.

Fulghum is one of seven contestants set to star in “Guy’s Grocery Games: Flavortown Academy” on Food Network. The show hosted by famed chef Guy Fieri is a tournament lasting five episodes beginning Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.

ESPN BET’s Tyler Fulghum is one of seven “Guy’s Grocery Games” contestants. (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

Front Row asked Fulghum how the opportunity presented itself and when his passion for cooking began.

How did this show opportunity come up?
My girlfriend, Jazzimen, filled out the initial application unbeknownst to me!

What should fans expect when watching the show?
Fans should expect a lot of sweating, panic, running, chopping, angst and fun. It was an absolutely surreal experience that you really cannot properly prepare yourself for until you’re thrown into the fire. I would absolutely do it again, though.

How long have you been cooking?
I started cooking during college [the University of Missouri] when I moved in with some friends. I decided to attempt a few recipes and techniques I had seen watching Food Network shows over the years. The first dish I made was a baked macaroni and cheese with hot dogs in it from Rachael Ray’s “30-Minute Meals.”

What inspired you to get into cooking?
A combination. My natural curiosity coupled with the necessity of needing to feed myself once I lived in a fraternity house during college. It also helped that my mother was a good cook, and I admired that.

Do you have a favorite dish or cuisine you like making?
I do have a signature breakfast sandwich that is probably worthy of starting a food truck. It’s a toasted English muffin, sliced avocado, cilantro, thinly sliced jalapeno, brown sugar, black pepper bacon, over medium egg, Cholula hot sauce, and pickled shallots. It’s the perfect bite in my eyes [watch his Instagram post below].

Any inspirational chef?
I have to say Guy Fieri, right? What he has done to build his passion into a brand and promote food and chefs around the world is incredible. Emeril Lagasse was the first celebrity chef that appealed to me on Food Network. He made food approachable, so I’ll always have a soft spot for him. Bam!

Most Saturdays, ESPN college football analyst Jesse Palmer is calling games with teammates Joe Tessitore and Katie George on ESPN platforms. But the versatile commentator has his oven mitts full with other assignments, including hosting ABC’s The Bachelor franchise and the latest edition of Food Network’s “Holiday Baking Championship,” which returned with new episodes to stream this week.

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