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The Mountaineer Online

Fort Drum chef to battle for 'Cupcake Warrior' title

Kyle Gyurko, a chef at Fort Drum’s Po Valley Child Development Center, sprinkles spices on sautéed potatoes Tuesday. Gyurko was chosen to compete for a cash prize on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” in October. (Photo by Michelle Kennedy).
Kyle Gyurko, a chef at Fort Drum’s Po Valley Child Development Center, sprinkles spices on sautéed potatoes Tuesday. Gyurko was chosen to compete for a cash prize on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” in October. (Photo by Michelle Kennedy).

Laura Oakes

FMWR Marketing Publicity Assistant

Chef Kyle Gyurko must be doing something right. He has more than 170 fans clambering to eat his meals, coming back to the tables every day, five days a week. Those fans shout “Hi Kyle” to him as he travels to and from his kitchen.
The 26-year-old works as the lead chef at the Fort Drum Child, Youth and School Services’ Po Valley Child Development Center kitchen.
He is a culinary super star on a small scale now, but after October, Gyurko may become a household name, because he has been chosen to appear as a competitor on the Food Network’s popular cooking competition show, “Cupcake Wars.”
Gyurko said a friend’s girlfriend saw that Cupcake Wars’ applications were being accepted, and she told him that he should apply.
“I figured, ‘why not?’ and filled out the online application, sending it with my photo, biography, and a photo portfolio of cakes and cupcakes I have decorated,” he said.
Six months later, while checking his e-mail, Gyurko discovered he had been chosen as a competitor for the next season of “Cupcake Wars” and would soon receive a telephone call. The call came the following Monday from a Food Network producer telling Gyurko more about the competition.
“Cupcake Wars” touts itself as Food Network’s tastiest competition yet. Each week on the program, four of the country’s top cupcake bakers face off in three elimination challenges until only one decorator remains. The sweet prize is $10,000 and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at the winning gig. Gyurko knows that his episode will be filmed in October, but he has not yet been told when it will air.
A Carthage resident, Gyurko said ever since he was a child, he enjoyed cooking with his mother. He decided to make this passion his career when he attended a four-year course in culinary arts through the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
After graduation, he was accepted to the California Culinary Academy, where he attended a two-year program. While in California, Gyurko co-owned Classic Creations, a catering business in the San Francisco / Big Bear area, but he sold the business to return to Carthage to be closer to his family.
Gyurko had enjoyed volunteering for CYSS each summer while attending high school. Upon returning to the North Country, he applied to CYSS as a child and youth program assistant. Once his education and work history were taken into account, he was offered a job in the Po Valley CDC kitchen.
He said that there are special challenges involved with cooking for very young children.
“I have cooked at four-star restaurants, so when I look at a menu, I am always thinking of different preparations I could use to make the meal exciting, but I have to hold back because I know the children might not like it,” he said.
Gyurko keeps busy with his job on Fort Drum and as the owner of Cakes By Kyle, a bakery specializing in one-of-a-kind creations, but he soon will be much busier.
To get ready for his big competition, Gyurko is making plans to create new cake and frosting recipes to test. Gyurko said he favors “Italian butter cream frosting and piping techniques to decorate my cakes and cupcakes. All of my friends and family are ready and willing to be my tasters.”
With that kind of preparation and plenty of helpful friends, the North Country may see Gyurko emerge as a favorite in the “Cupcake Wars” competition. He is already the favorite of his 170 little fans.

The Mountaineer



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