Tag Archives: Natasha Pogrebinsky

LIC chef to compete in Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay”

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Natasha Pogrebinsky is at it again and this time she is looking to take on an iron chef.

The Long Island City chef, who has appeared twice on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” will now go head-to-head with chef Esther Choi on the network’s new series “Beat Bobby Flay” on Sept. 4 in hopes to move on and battle celebrity chef Bobby Flay himself.

“They were really impressed with me as a chef and as a personality on TV,” said Pogrebinsky, who is also the owner of Bear Restaurant located at 12-14 31st Ave., about getting offered a chance to appear on the show. “They wanted me back.”

In the episode called “Ladies First,” Pogrebinsky and Choi will “thrown down in the kitchen” creating one dish, which must feature a mystery ingredient given by Flay. The dishes will then be judged by chef Marc Murphy from “Chopped” and Katie Lee, co-host of “The Kitchen.”

“It was a lot of fun and it was great to be able to show off what I could do,” Pogrebinsky said.

Whoever comes out the winner in the first round will then be able to challenge Flay with her very own surprise signature dish.

“If I get to win the first round then I can go on to the next round and challenge Bobby Flay to cook a dish that is my specialty,” Pogrebinsky said. “If I make it to the second round then I get to throw him a curve ball.”

Pogrebinsky said her third appearance on the Food Network was a lot more intense because of the competition, yet it was fun because during the taping there was a live audience that included some Queens fans.

“In ‘Chopped’ you have a little more of a chance, here you have a 50-50 shot,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun to hear your fans from Astoria and LIC cheer you on.”

Just like her two previous “Chopped” premieres, Pogrebinsky said she plans on having a viewing party at Bear Restaurant, but details are still pending.

The “Ladies First” episode of “Beat Bobby Flay” will air on Sept. 4 at 10 p.m.



LIC chef comes in second on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Being “chopped” never felt so good.

Although Long Island City chef Natasha Pogrebinsky didn’t win the grand prize on the show, she left with an unforgettable experience.

“I’m not upset about the outcome at all, I’m very happy that I had the chance to talk about my story, my restaurant, my type of cuisine,” said Pogrebinsky. “I was really happy I was a part of it.”

Friends and supporters gathered on Tuesday, August 6 at Pogrebinsky’s Bear Restaurant, located at 12-14 31st Avenue, for a viewing party to watch the chef take on lemon bars and whelk snails on that night’s episode of the Food Network’s “Chopped.” Guests were able to taste samples of dishes Pogrebinsky cooked on the show.

The Courier spoke to Pogrebinsky before the episode aired about her experience on the show.
“It’s a little surreal,” said Pogrebinsky. “I like a challenge and it was really fun to meet new people and be thrown into a crazy environment.”

On the August 6 episode, called “Walk on the Whelk Side,” the chefs worked with ingredients such as whelk snails, lemon bars, lamb shawarma, acai juice, upland cress and cucumbers.
Pogrebinsky competed against Long Island Chef Ben Durham and California Chefs Paolo Pasio and Katsuji Tanabe.

Contestants on “Chopped” receive baskets filled with mystery ingredients. Each chef must create dishes and compete to make it to the next round.

After serving sautéed snails as an appetizer and cooking up a stroganoff for the entrée round, Pogrebinsky made it to the final dessert round where she battled against Chef Tanabe.

The two chefs had 30 minutes to create a dish using cucumber salad, cantaloupe, sesame seed candy and marshmallow spread. Pogrebinsky created a sesame cookie with marshmallow cream and Tanabe whipped up a crepe with cantaloupe cucumber sherbet.

In the end, as the judges struggled to make a final decision,Tanabe became the Chopped winner and took home the $10,000 grand prize.

“Food is magical, food is exciting and intriguing and mysterious and doing it at the restaurant is one level and being able to create that little moment , little story for people to watch all over the world is amazing,” said Pogrebinsky.


LIC chef to appear on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Natasha Pogrebinsk

Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky hopes her dish does not end up on the chopping block.

The executive chef and co-founder of Bear Bar and Restaurant, located at 12-14 31st Avenue in Long Island City, will appear on an episode of the Food Network’s “Chopped” airing Tuesday, August 6. On the show, which has already been taped, she competes against three other chefs for a $10,000 prize.

“It’s a little surreal,” said Pogrebinsky. “I’m a really competitive person and I love when there’s a rush. I like a challenge and it was really fun to meet new people and be thrown into a crazy environment.”

Contestants on “Chopped” receive baskets filled with mystery ingredients. Each chef must create dishes and compete to make it to the next round.

On the August 6 episode, called “Walk on the Whelk Side,” the chefs work with ingredients such as whelk snails, lemon bars, lamb shawarma and cucumbers.

“I was immediately in the zone, I was paying attention to the clock but at the same time I forgot the cameras were there and that there were other contestants,” said Pogrebinsky. “In real life in the kitchen I take weeks to design a dish. You find the right ingredients, you test them, you pair them, you try them in different ways and in here [the show] that’s all out the window.”

When it came to the judging, Pogrebinsky said she was not too nervous because she feels like she is always being judged.

“Every time a dish goes out, I worry about it,” she said. “I’m confident with every dish I put out, but at the same time because I care about it so much, I always look for that feedback from customers.”

After being a high school history teacher, Pogrebinsky was pushed by her brother to follow her dreams and passion to become a chef. In 2011, she and her brother, both immigrants from the Ukraine, opened up Bear Bar and Restaurant serving modern Russian cuisine.

“I still feel like I’m that culinary kid that is so inspired,” said Pogrebinksy. “It feels great and it is something I’ve always wanted.”

There will be a viewing party at the restaurant Tuesday night, August 6. Guests can RSVP to see if Pogrebinksy comes out a “Chopped” winner. They will also be able to taste samples of dishes the chef cooked on the show.

Once the episode ends, Pogrebinksy will talk about her experience.

The “Walk on the Whelk Side” episode will premiere on the Food Network at 10 p.m.

Bear Bar and Restaurant is open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., for dinner on Tuesday to Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.




Too good to ‘Bear’

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

At first glance Bear Bar & Restaurant in LIC may appear random.

But every aspect — from interior design to a “chef-driven” menu — harmonizes and creates an inviting atmosphere with distinctive dishes.

Yes, Bear Bar is different. There is a guitar, books and paintings gracing the right wall of the restaurant, while the left side glitters with colored stones. The front wall opens like a garage gate, almost welcoming patrons home, while providing a natural outdoor feel.

“For us as a concept restaurant, we’re not like a diner, we’re not like an ethnic restaurant, we’re not a French restaurant or whatever,” Natasha Pogrebinsky, executive chef and co-founder, said. “These are books from home. These are my father’s paintings. That is my guitar. It’s all personal.”

Natasha and her brother Alex Pogrebinsky, immigrants from the Ukraine, built and opened Bear last year. She cooks all orders herself, while Alex does everything else; bartending, waiting, even managing the website.

She was a history teacher, but they decided to enter the restaurant business years ago on a whim inspired by Natasha’s passion and talent for cooking.

The name Bear doesn’t have an exact meaning either, she noted. It was chosen spontaneously from the siblings’ journeys, when they would see popular bear statues at rest spots in Pennsylvania.

The menu, of course, follows this same improvised mentality. It changes daily based on what ingredients Natasha finds at local farmers’ markets she visits every morning.

“My style is, if I’m inspired by something, I get so excited about it that I want you to try it,” Natasha said. “That’s the point of my menu. It’s like I’m cooking for friends.”

Don’t let the unstructured style fool you, though. The appetizers and entrées Natasha crafts every night are as creative as they are flavorful. Moreover, her daily menu has something for everyone, as it ranges from pastas and seafood to salads and steak.

An example is her crab cakes. Her version of the usually bread-based treat is jumbo crab meat covered with a creamy mayo and mustard sauce, served on light flaky toast with kiwi parse.

A house special is roasted duck. It’s one of the few dishes that is a mainstay on the menu because of its popularity. The roasted bird bursts with juice and seemingly melts when eaten. It is served with apples and plums, which bring out even more flavor.

Bear also has a wide range of drinks to go with Natasha’s cooking, including beer, wine, juices, coffee and fun, tasty cocktails that Alex blends. One cocktail, properly named “The Demon,” mixes whiskey, gin, vodka and coffee; the siblings ignite brown sugar at the table before dipping a flaming spoon into the drink.

“The neighborhood is open to new restaurants, new ideas,” Natasha said. “It feels like a different world here. It’s not Brooklyn, it’s not Manhattan, its Queens.”

Bear Bar & Restaurant

12-14 31st Avenue

Long Island City, NY, 11106



Dinner Tuesday-Sunday 6 -11 p.m.

Brunch Sunday noon – 3 p.m.