Fake Chef, Real Recipes — And The Food's Disgusting

Nick Preuher is no chef; he only plays one on TV. More accurately, he has pretended to be one, appearing on various local morning television shows as a prank.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now, let's cook up something tasty to eat.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW)

NICK PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) How about a mashed potato ice cream cone?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: That's fun.

PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) All right. So you just basically - this is real simple. You put a little scoop of gravy. It could be room temperature because your hand kind of warms up.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, yeah.

PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) And you just put in some of this. These are your sprinkles. I think of this as like a sundae bar.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Like corn sprinkles, OK. OK.

PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) Yeah. So put on some corn sprinkles.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We'll do that here.

PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) And, of course, don't forget your cranberry cherry on top.

BLOCK: That was Chef Keith Guerke in one of five appearances he made on local TV morning shows around Thanksgiving time last year. This one was in Milwaukee. He was demonstrating what to do with holiday leftovers.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A couple of problems here. First, his mashed potato ice cream cones are disgusting. Second, there is no Chef Keith Guerke. There is only Nick Prueher. And Nick Prueher is no chef. He only plays one on TV. In other words, this was a complete fraud.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW)

PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) Why don't you give me a hand here? This is what you do.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: OK.

PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) You're basically just going to put like some of your ham in here, and I'm going to put in a little extra corn here.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: OK.

PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) And then, like, fried chicken. Put it all in there and then add more gravy.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Wow.

PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) Gravy to gravy.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: There we go.

BLOCK: You see, Nick Prueher's expertise is not in cuisine, but in pranks. Prueher is the co-host of the "Found Footage Festival." That's a touring comedy show. He passed himself off as a chef marketing a book. And as he told us today, he managed to get himself booked on several stations.

PRUEHER: We thought, you know, around the holidays it would be a slam dunk to get booked if this fake chef, Chef Keith, had a book he'd written. So we came up with the title "Leftovers Right: Making A Winner Of Last Night's Dinner" and we just had a graphic designer friend whip something up for us.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: Come meet Chef Keith today. You are going to be at Barnes & Noble at 1:00. He's going to be signing copies of his new book.

PRUEHER: (As Chef Keith Guerke) I just checked my email before and I might have to cancel the signing because the books have not arrived.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: Oh, well, never mind then.

CORNISH: Now, that Chef Keith is admitting the prank, we asked the general manager at Milwaukee station WITI for reaction. He had no comment.

BLOCK: And we asked Prueher if he had any misgivings about misrepresenting himself.

PRUEHER: You know, luckily I have no scruples. It doesn't weigh on my conscience at all.

BLOCK: Prueher has called his shtick a victimless crime. But at least one TV station took action. WSAW TV in central Wisconsin filed a copyright claim with YouTube. The video of their host being punked by Prueher was taken down today.

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