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Former Hagerstown resident wins '24 Hour Restaurant Battle'

Harpers Ferry couple to be featured on same series

August 12, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • Justin Warner and his girlfriend, J.J. Pyle, won an episode of Food Network's "24 Hour Restaurant Battle."
Submitted photo,

For a guy who's never cooked in a restaurant, Justin Warner held his own.

The former Hagerstown resident walked away with $10,000 for winning an episode of Food Network's "24 Hour Restaurant Battle."

The food-themed competition aired Wednesday. Two couples had 24 hours to transform an empty, New York City TV studio into a thriving restaurant. The team that wows the panel of judges gets the cash at the end of the episode.

Warner, 26, is a South Hagerstown High School graduate who lives in New York City. He worked at Roccoco and Bentley's Bagels in Hagerstown before taking on flashier front-of-the-house jobs at high-end restaurants in Colorado and New York.

Warner made it clear in interviews before the show aired and throughout the episode that he had never cooked food professionally -- at one time he even referred to himself as the "antichef."

Despite that, Warner and his girlfriend, J.J. Pyle -- a waitress whom he met on the job -- beat Philadelphia couple Zach Gaynor and Lisa Fernandez, who's retro-comfort food theme fell short.

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Judges seemed to like the execution of team Warner's "... & Jelly" concept, despite a pesky lemon jelly that wouldn't set and a chewy meat chunk served to one of the judges as part of a beef tenderloin waffle dish topped with cilantro siracha butter and plum jelly.

On Aug. 25, Harpers Ferry, W.Va., couple Sara and Mitchell Matzek will be featured on the same series, in an episode dubbed the "Texas vs. Ex's Battle."

"24 Hour Restaurant Battle" airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on the Food Network.

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