“And your time starts now!”
These famous words from show host Ted Allen sent me into a flurry of activity. In just 20 minutes, I had to create an appetizer in a kitchen that I had never seen with video cameras surrounding me while famous chefs looked on.
I recently represented the Capital Area Food Bank on the Food Network show Chopped. The episode focused on chefs who work for non-profit organizations and in the community.
I competed against a chef from the Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans and two other chefs, both from the Philadelphia-based organizations Manna and Philabundance. Being around other chefs who do meaningful work was a big part of the thrill for me.
It was such an honor to compete against other passionate chefs and to be on a Food Network show! Behind the scenes, I learned about the great work done around the country by food banks and their dedicated staff.
I learned about the education program run by Manna’s Keith Lucas and was fascinated by the number of meals distributed to children in New Orleans by Second Harvest’s kitchen. I also learned about Philabundance’s community kitchen that equips adults with culinary skills and connects them with job opportunities.
As we zipped through the main course and dessert portions of the show and the adrenaline rose, my favorite part of the entire experience was being able to represent the Capital Area Food Bank and bring exposure to the issue of hunger in our community.
The episode of Chopped will re-air on Tuesday, November 13 at 8 pm. Join us for a special viewing at Getaway in Columbia Heights and help support the food bank. Donations will be collected to help the CAFB provide fresh produce through its Weekend Bag program.
Did I win the Chopped competition? Well, you’ll have to tune in to see!