DOWNTOWN — An Instagram photo of chicken satay landed two Rogers Park caterers on television.
"We thought [the comment] was bulls***," said Teddy Heidt, 25. "We thought it was a spam email."
But it wasn't: Heidt competed in an episode that aired in late December, and Ryan Arndt, 30, will be in the episode that airs Sunday.
Teddy Heidt (l.) and Ryan Arndt run RP Catering and Events and have both been on reality television show "Cutthroat Kitchen." [Courtesy/Dorey Kronick Mixed Media Arts]
The Rogers Park residents met in culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in 2012 and started dating. They began RP Catering and Events after being approached to cater a 120-person wedding with Southern and Asian fusion dishes — and pulling it off.
“It was a trial by fire," said Arndt. "We made it through.”
Heidt was the first to get called out to Los Angeles to film "Cutthroat" after going through Skype interviews.
The show pits four chefs against each other to create dishes while hampered by strange "sabotages," like a countertop replaced entirely with flour.
Heidt had to cook a breakfast sandwich while holding "a stack of pancakes a foot high."
Though Heidt didn't ultimately win, he made it through several rounds and was able to pass some tips along to Arndt when Arndt flew out to L.A. several months later.
"Getting out of your head is the biggest thing," Heidt said. "You’re wrapped up in the whole process of it: You’re in Los Angeles, you’re on a studio lot, Alton Brown is in front of me, so get out of your head and just try to cook."
The two were fans of chef Brown before he created "Cutthroat Kitchen," so being in front of him was intimidating, they said.
"We were both star-struck, so add that on top of your nerves," Heidt said.
Arndt also tried not to play to the cameras.
"There's a temptation to create a character, not be yourself, but amp it up a little," he said. "It's a very easy temptation to fall into, but it's hard to sustain, to try to control how you're coming off on TV."
Ryan Arndt (l.) and Teddy Heidt (r.) run RP Catering and Events and have both been on reality television show "Cutthroat Kitchen." [Courtesy/Dorey Kronick Mixed Media Arts]
Heidt was happy how his episode turned out when he watched with friends — "When you actually watch it, it’s almost like an out-of-body experience" — but Arndt is nervous about Sunday.
The two will watch the premiere with friends, and of course, with some food and cocktails.
They hope the publicity will help their young catering company, which they want to one day move from a side project to a full-time job.
Arndt, who specializes in working with flavors and creating menus, works as a server at Seven Lions, 130 S. Michigan Ave., and Heidt, who specializes in desserts and the business side, does social media and marketing for Protein Bar.
Outside of their full-time jobs, they spend a lot of time preparing and cooking for private dinner parties, small weddings, and taking orders for appetizers, cakes and cupcakes.
"It’s a lot of late nights and early mornings, but when you love it — making cupcakes at three in the morning — it could be a lot worse” Heidt said.
In addition to growing their catering business, and opening up a location in Chicago, the two would also like to get back on TV.
"I'd like to do 'Cutthroat Kitchen' again'" Arndt said.
"It would be so fun to go back and do it together," Heidt said.
But as in their life and business, the two operate as a team.
"We'd do it together with each other, not against each other," Arndt said.
See Ryan Arndt's "Cutthroat Kitchen" episode "21 Chum Street" on the Food Network at 9 p.m. Sunday.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: