NEW YORK CITY (JTA) – An Orthodox, kosher-keeping teen has won a “Chopped” championship. Rachel Goldzal, 13, of Staten Island, won the episode that aired on Sept. 4, beating two 12 year olds and a 10 year old. She was 12 when she filmed the Food Network cooking reality show in the spring.
She is the first kosher champion in the show’s history, which includes more than 450 episodes. Her win earned her a check for $10,000. There have been other kosher-keeping contestants in the past.
Goldzal is in the eighth grade at the Jewish Foundation School of Staten Island.
The pre-teen chefs were required to create an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert in three 30-minute rounds and to include four random, pre-selected ingredients per course.
Producers worked with Goldzal and her parents to make sure that all the ingredients were kosher and gave her new pots, pans and utensils to use, VIN reported. They also made sure that she would not have to mix meat and dairy products.
She was very open with the judges about being an Orthodox Jew and about keeping kosher. She told them that between Shabbat and all the holidays on the Jewish calendar she cooks “all the time.”
She said she learned how to cook by watching her grandmother and mother. She also was enrolled in the culinary program at her summer camp, Camp Nesher in Pennsylvania. She worked with a private chef ahead of the competition as well.
The teen said that she wants one day to work as a private chef in a kosher kitchen, as opposed to opening a restaurant like many competition winners.
“Winning Chopped was like a dream come true for me,” she told VIN.
She has her own website, www.RachelInTheKidchen.com, and over one thousand followers on Instagram.