Orthodox Jewish Teen From Staten Island Becomes First ‘Chopped’ Champion Who Keeps Kosher

Shiryn Solny
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Rachel Goldzal
A 12-year-old from Staten Island, NY, became the first Orthodox Jew to win the Food Network cooking competition “Chopped” in an episode that aired on Tuesday night.

Rachel Goldzal, who took home the grand prize of $10,000, is the first “Chopped” winner who keeps kosher. From the start, the seventh grader wowed the judges on the hit show, where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes each round to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. For the junior competitions, the contestants are given 30 minutes to create each course.

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Judge and chef Geoffrey Zakarian, who is also Jewish, was a big fan of Goldzal’s appetizer and cleaned his plate of her Israeli-style slider with a hummus sauce, and a rapini and cabbage slaw. For the entrée round, Goldzal made a garlic and herb steak with a cauliflower and potato hash, and a sweet and spicy sauce. For dessert, she created a cookie-oat crumble on top of a candy, kiwi and kombucha compote.

Goldzal — who said she wanted to be “a private chef in a kosher home” when she got older — talked on the show about keeping kosher and cooking at home. She said, “As an Orthodox Jew, between Sabbath and the holidays, I’m cooking all the time.”

The chef watched the “Chopped” episode last night with her family in Staten Island and after she was crowned the winner of the competition on television her family members screamed with joy and starting singing the popular song “We are the Champions,” as shown in two videos posted on Facebook.

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