A chef in Bethesda, Maryland, is gearing up for what he calls the Super Bowl of his cooking career.
"The potatoes have to be perfect. The spinach has to be perfect. The foie gras has to be perfect," Chef Ashish Alfred said in the kitchen of his restaurant Duck Duck Goose on Norfolk Avenue.
Alfred will soon prepare dinner for some of the top chefs around the country at the James Beard House in New York on Dec. 20.
Each year, the James Beard Foundation grants the prestigious honor to only a handful of chefs.
"I definitely feel like the hard work that I put in every day, that my team puts in every day, I think that this is a direct result of that," Alfred told News4.
Chefs are chosen based on their repuation in the industry and Alfred is no stranger to success.
He studied at the French Culinary Institute in Manhatten and owns George's Chophouse in Bethesda and Duck Duck Goose in Baltimore in addition to the Bethesda location.
But for all of his achievements, Alfred says he didn't plan on becoming a chef.
"I had tried the college thing a couple times. My folks just were not going to pay for another college class for me at all ever. So, I said, you know, why don’t I try cooking school? So, I went to culinary school and I, from day one, fell in love," Alfred said.
Now, Alfred is preparing for his greatest challenge and must cook five courses for 80 people attending the James Beard Foundation Dinner.
"I’ve been sleeping not at all," Alfred said with a laugh.
"You can only do the best job that you’re gonna do."