Mason Zeglen had 30 minutes to purchase his ingredients and cook the meal.
Zeglen, of Killington, competing on the Food Network Show, Guy’s Grocery Games, ran through the grocery store, in competition with three other chefs.
The challenge was to use ingredients of a gingerbread house, such as candy canes and M&M’s, in a fine dining meal.
“You have to be really quick on your toes,” said Zeglen after the show.
Zeglen instantly had an idea. He crushed the chocolate in a blender and poured a malt over roasted duck – a dish similar to what he made as a child growing up in Killington.
Zeglen’s dish won the show as his mother, Carol Zeglen, leapt up from her couch in Killington and screamed.
“I had no clue that he was going to win – none,” she said.
The episode of Guy’s Grocery Games was filmed back in May but a contract Zeglen signed for the show forbade him from revealing details about the episode or the outcome.
Zeglen’s sister Anastasia, who took a road trip with her brother over the summer, was also shocked as she watched the show from her home in Fairfax, Vermont.
This was Zeglen’s second time competing on the show.
In his first appearance in August, he won $16,000 after his dish was picked as the judge’s favorite. Zeglen was so well liked, he was asked to return.
“It just gets harder every time,” he said. “It’s still pretty intimidating.”
Zeglen, 36, grew up in Killington. He learned how to cook by using ingredients from his family’s backyard vegetable garden.
“Ours was really farm-to-table and organic before organic was cool,” Anastasia said.
Zeglen moved to Bozeman, Montana, after high school to pursue his cooking passion.
On the show, Zeglen, who hasn’t been home for the holidays in more than a decade, said he’d use his money to make the trip back to Vermont this winter.
Zeglen is currently the chef at a fine dining restaurant in the Cayman Islands, where his wife took a teaching opportunity about two months ago.
Zeglen and his wife (who also grew up in Vermont), may use the prize money to purchase a 10-acre property in Montana and start a Christmas tree farm near a small ski area.
“We love small family-oriented mountains,” Zeglen said.