Annie Pettry is partner and executive chef at Louisville's celebrated Decca restaurant. | Courtesy of Top Chef
Annie Pettry is partner and executive chef at Louisville’s Decca restaurant. | Courtesy of Top Chef

Annie Pettry, executive chef and partner at Decca, hopes to shine a light on Louisville’s culinary scene by appearing on the 14th season of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

While Louisville’s reputation as a culinary city has improved, it still doesn’t make the top 10 lists curated by the top food and travel publications.

“Anything I can do that draws more attention to the Louisville food scene,” Pettry told Insider Louisville. “If it does anything for our town, I am grateful.”

Pettry said she wants to bring awareness to the growing food scene here as well as the wealth of artisans and farmers that supply restaurants like Decca with ingredients.

This season of “Top Chef” takes place in Charleston, S.C. A native of Asheville, N.C., Pettry is familiar with the low-country cooking popular in South Carolina, and growing up, her family would vacation in Hunting Island, S.C., every summer.

“I love it, so I was really excited to be in Charleston,” she said.

But there wasn’t any time for sightseeing, Pettry said.

“You’re kind of stretched to your limits in every way,” she said of the show. “I don’t think there is anything that can prepare you.”

She described the quick-paced culinary competition as “exciting,” “nerve-wracking” and “intense” — a very different experience from day-to-day life in her kitchen at Decca where she’s isn’t knocking out recipes on the fly.

“At the restaurant, you have the time to curate everything. You can take a dish and hone it into exactly what you want it to be,” she said.

The introverted Pettry said she also wanted to compete on “Top Chef” to help break herself out of her shell. “Part of the reason I did the show was partly because it made me nervous,” she added.

Unlike other seasons where all the competitors are new to “Top Chef,” this season will feature eight rookies, including Pettry, and eight returning chefs who’ve appeared on the show before.

“When the veterans walked out, I was floored, and it made it that much scarier and that much more intense,” she said.

While it added to the tension, Pettry said, creating connections with accomplished chefs was the best part of the experience.

To find out how long Pettry can survive the heat of the “Top Chef” kitchen, fans will have to tune in every Thursday to the Bravo network. The coming season will debut at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]