Fiery explosion in Hamptons sparks lawsuit against Food Network graduates

An Upper East Side woman claims she was badly injured in a fire explosion caused by her private chef – who insisted he was the one who suffered burns in more ways than one.

Kathleen Histon claimed Food Network graduate Christopher Nirsel “inexplicably” poured a bottle of ethanol onto her fire pit during an August 2020 event in Bridgehampton, causing the flames to explode “in a fireball” all over her, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit .

Histon, 56, suffered third-degree burns covering more than 40% of her body and suffered “serious disfigurement,” according to court filings against Nirsel and his company NY Catering Service.

Nirchel, who has appeared on “Chopped” and “Food Network Star,” said he was baffled by Histon’s claims.

“I was in the process of refilling the fire pit and one of their guests pressed the on button,” resulting in the explosion that engulfed both him and Histon, he told the Post.

“It was one of the scariest things of my life, extremely traumatic. I still remember the sound of that explosion.”

Chris Nirchel, who appeared in “Chopped,” was sued over the violent incident but says he didn’t cause it.
Instagram @culinarybadboy

Histon gave him the ethanol to fuel the fireplace, which was turned off before the unidentified guest restarted it at the wrong moment, he said.

“It almost ended my life. I’ve had multiple surgeries on my arm…I had to be airlifted,” he recalls. “I had third degree burns. I was in the hospital for almost a month.

“I’m a small business owner and I’ve never had a problem. I take my job very seriously. . . . It’s unfortunate that she’s after me and my company,” Nirchel said.

an injured niche
The cook had to be flown by plane to receive medical care after being burned.
Instagram @culinarybadboy

Nirchel posted pictures of himself in hospital, with a burned arm and a face almost entirely covered in bandages.

“Everyone is praying for me. “I was involved in an explosion two days ago,” he said wrote on Instagram. “I was flown and have second and third degree burns. I need surgery on Thursday for a skin graft.”

Histon, who is acting as her own attorney and is seeking unspecified damages, did not respond to messages seeking comment.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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