The Cook of ‘Rod the Builder’ – Rod Meloni vs. Grant Hermes


It’s one of our favorite things to do every year: making Rod Meloni very uncomfortable by giving him a difficult task to accomplish in a relatively short timeframe, live on TV and online, and against a competitor who usually has a huge head start on him.


Watch live here at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 26, 2021.

Last year, Meloni faced our own Steve Garagiola, who is a chef with his own cookbook. It was even featured on Rachael Ray. The two battled to make an Italian feast of lasagna, grilled dumplings and Caesar salad.

Hermes is a presenter and journalist for Local 4, but if you check out his Instagram, you would know he’s a pretty good cook. He wants Meloni to know that cooking is his domain.

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” I’m fine. I’m a good cook. I dabble, ”said Hermès. “I saw Rod’s kitchen. He almost burned down his cabin last year. I think I’m in a pretty good position.

“I’m going to say this and I’m going to say it very clearly: never, ever trust a lean chef,” Meloni said.

Meloni has stated that he is not intimidated by Hermes, however, he is not on Instagram, so he may not have seen his many dishes.

“An Instagram-ready meal is something that looks good on the plate,” Hermes said. “You eat with your eyes first, so it has to be symmetrical. The color has to be appropriate. You must have small touches and pops of color in other places. It needs to be put on well, and most importantly, it needs to be hot when you eat it later, and that’s the hardest part.

Hermes wants Meloni to know that food has to be Instagram ready and has to taste great. This is where Meloni becomes skeptical of Hermes.

“I don’t even know where to start with that,” Meloni said. “Here’s my question: if he’s on Instagram, how do we know he tastes good? How do we know that everything he cooks is other than looking good? Said Meloni.

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Meloni and Hermes will face off on Friday at 4 p.m. at Holiday market at Royal Oak in the Mirepoix cooking school. Chef Daniela Abel will be on hand to make sure nothing goes wrong, tip Meloni a couple of tips, then judge what the two cooks are up to before 6 p.m.

Since Meloni is from New England, two of the dishes they’ll be making: clam chowder and lobster rolls. Last year Garagiola chose the menu. They will also make cannoli. The goal will be to create Instagram-ready dishes.

Mirepox often hosts duels, cooking classes, and other private events. To consult their complete calendar, Click here.

Mirepoix describes his cooking school as a practical and comfortable environment where people learn to think and cook like a professional chef. She is already offering gift cards for her January calendar.

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Clam chowder recipe


  • 1 2/3 cups frozen and cooked clams (try to get only the clam meat, otherwise you will have to shell the clams after thawing) (you can also use canned clam meat – skip the defrost step )

  • 2 ounces bacon, finely chopped (about 2 thick-cut bacon slices)

  • 2 cups chopped onions (about 1 medium onion, peeled)

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons of butter

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ pound potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes (about 3 medium potatoes)

  • 1 ½ cup of clam juice

  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • Pepper to taste


  1. Once the clams are thawed, chop them on a cutting board and set aside, keeping the juice.

  2. In a large, heavy-based saucepan, slowly cook the bacon over medium heat. Remove the bacon with a skimmer and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.

  3. Add the onions and garlic and cook slowly, stirring frequently for about 5 to 6 minutes, until cooked but not golden. Maybe need to lower the heat.

  4. No side: Roux

  5. Separately in a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour, whisking constantly, until combined without lumps.

  6. Or, if you want to try it in the main pot, add the butter and let it melt, then slowly stir in the flour until combined without lumps.

  7. Add the flour / butter mixture (roux) to the onions and garlic and mix (if you did step A above).

  8. Add the clam juice and broth, bring the liquid to a boil.

  9. Add the chopped potatoes, lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked (about 15 minutes).

  10. Stir in clams with juice from cutting board and bacon.

  11. In a separate bowl, add your heavy cream. Take a ladle or two of hot broth and mix it slowly with the cream, stirring constantly to temper it. Once tempered, you can pour the cream into the pan, stirring again to prevent curdling.

  12. Heat the soup until it reaches the desired temperature.

  13. Sprinkle with pepper to taste.

cannoli recipe

Filling ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz. containing ricotta (drain the liquid with a colander or cheese cloth to remove any excess moisture)

  • 1/2 cup marscapone cheese

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  • ½ cup powdered sugar (divided)

  • pure vanilla extract 1 tsp.

  • orange zest 1/4 tsp.

  • kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon

  • mini chocolate chips, for garnish

Shellfish ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 C. kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 4 tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes

  • 6 tbsp. White wine

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 egg white, for brushing

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Make the seashells:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.

  2. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry cutter until it is the size of a pea.

  3. Add wine and egg and mix until a paste forms.

  4. Knead several times in a bowl to help the dough come together.

  5. Form a flat circle, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Make the filling:

  1. In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the heavy cream and ¼ cup caster sugar until stiff peaks form. Put aside.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, cream cheese, remaining ¼ cup caster sugar, vanilla, orange zest and salt.

  3. Using a whisk or hand mixer, whisk until smooth. There may be a few grains of ricotta left over, but most of the filling should be creamy. Incorporate the whipped cream.

  4. Refrigerate until ready to fill cannoli, at least 1 hour.

Fry the shellfish:

  1. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half. Roll in half to â…› “thick. Use a 4 inch cookie cutter to cut out the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough. Re-roll the scraps to cut a few more circles.

  2. Wrap the dough around the cannoli molds and brush the egg whites where the dough will meet to seal together.

  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat about 2 ″ of oil at 360 °. Working in batches, add the cannoli molds to the oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Be careful. The oil will be inside the mold. Drain the pan and remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool slightly.

  4. When it is cold enough to handle or with a kitchen towel, gently peel the shells from the mussels to remove them.

  5. Place the filling in a pastry bag fitted with an open star nozzle. Poach the filling in the shells (on both sides), then dip the ends in mini chocolate chips.

  6. Sprinkle the cannoli with powdered sugar for decoration.

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