“Son of a Southern Chef” uses family, love and comfort food to put a stylish spin on classics

Chef Lazarus Lynch has been cooking (nearly) professionally since high school. The two-time "Chopped" winner, host of Food Network's competitive Snapchat cooking show "Chopped U," and now author of "Son of A Southern Chef," shared with SalonTV's Manny Howard how he turned his childhood love of food into a multi-layered and incredibly stylish culinary career.

On "Salon Talks," Lynch describes how he was a kid from Queens who was spellbound by his dad's work in the soul food restaurant the family owned on Merrick Blvd, the restaurant row of Laurelton. He went to the specialized high school, Food and Finance in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen to do what dad did. Teachers, impressed by his writing, encouraged Lynch to start a food blog.

"Someone at Cooking Channel discovered my blog," Lynch recalls. "They started talking about me in a meeting, 'We got to know this kid. Who is he? Where does he live? He's talking about this amazing high school we've never heard of in somewhere called Hell's Kitchen in New York City. What does that mean?' They showed up to the school, they reached out to the principal. We met and they said, 'We want to do a video with you.' And I said, Okay.'"

A few weeks later, his clip was running daily as a promo on the Cooking Channel and Lynch had landed his first internship in media. Lynch produced his first YouTube cooking show, "My College Kitchen," while studying at SUNY-Buffalo, promising all his friends functioning as the production crew, that they could eat whatever he made. "I got lucky," he said. He's been making his luck ever since.

When he's asked who he would cook for if he could cook for anyone, living or dead, Lynch unhesitatingly offers up his grandmother, Margaret Lynch as the clear choice. "Margaret was a talented beautician and a gifted cook," explains this sparkling creature of the digital age. "She started me on my path. And, though I've never met her, I know how important she is to my life and I want to tell her."

Watch the episode above to learn more about where Lynch puts the love is in his cooking and what his fans know about his dessert recipe for grilled cheese. For more food-centric episodes, visit our "Salon Talks" Food playlist. Stay tuned for Laz's Nutella Bacon Banana Breakfast Grilled Cheese! and his Old-Fashioned NYC Chocolate Milk on SalonTV.

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