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St. Petersburg chef David Benstock will compete on Food Network’s ‘Beat Bobby Flay’

The “Mission Impastable” episode airs May 20.
David Benstock, executive chef and owner of Il Ritorno in St. Petersburg, will compete on an episode of culinary competition show "Beat Bobby Flay" that airs on May 20.
David Benstock, executive chef and owner of Il Ritorno in St. Petersburg, will compete on an episode of culinary competition show "Beat Bobby Flay" that airs on May 20.
Published Apr. 29
Updated May 5

ST. PETERSBURG — For the second time in just a few months, a Tampa Bay chef is headed to the small screen.

David Benstock, the executive chef and owner of Il Ritorno in St. Petersburg, will compete on Beat Bobby Flay, the popular Food Network competition show, on May 20.

Even though the show was taped back in October 2019 — before the coronavirus pandemic — the network waited until this year to release the episodes of Flay’s hit show, now in its 28th season.

The episode, titled “Mission Impastable,” will feature Benstock and New York-based chef and cookbook author Nicole Karr. The show, which hinges on a competing chef trying to beat Flay at his own game, typically features two chefs who are first pitted against each other in a speed round competition involving a secret ingredient. The winner of that round then goes head-to-head with Flay to compete with a dish of the visiting chef’s choice.

Benstock, in a prepared statement, called the filming a “major moment” in his culinary career.

“I couldn’t be any more excited to share it with the St. Petersburg community as restaurant owners continue to get back on their feet,” he said.

Tampa Bay chefs are having a moment with the producers of the Food Network series: Benstock’s appearance comes just a few months after another local chef, Cena’s Michael Buttacavoli, also competed on the show.

Related: Tampa's own Michael Buttacavoli beats Bobby Flay

That episode, titled “Friday Night Bites,” aired in February, a few days before Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Buttacavoli took home a win for his Italian meatball Parmesan sub, which garnered unanimous praise from the judges on the show.

Though details on the competition and the “Mission Impastable” episode will be kept secret until the airing, the name hints that Italian cuisine and pasta will be featured.

So will Benstock be able to take home another win for Tampa Bay? Pasta is, after all, kind of his thing.

“Mission Impastable” will air on the Food Network at 8 p.m. May 20.