How a 30-Year-Old Nun Won a Thanksgiving Episode of 'Chopped'


One nun was blessed with good tidings on last night’s Thanksgiving-themed episode of “Chopped.” Sister Alicia Torres was the big winner of Monday’s Food Network culinary competition show, winning $10,000 for her church, Chicago’s Mission of Our Lady of the Angels.

Torres, 30, beat three other soup kitchen chefs by whipping together globally inspired dishes from a combination of Thanksgiving staples.

Contestants were charged with transforming fresh, leftover, and candied versions of turkey, cranberry sauce, green beans, and mashed potatoes into a visually attractive and tasty appetizer, entree, and dessert.

Torres whipped up turkey quesadillas and a salad with cranberry vinaigrette in the first round, and followed up with curried turkey and sweet potato cranberry hash for the entree round. She wrapped up the competition with a green bean pancake with a maple cranberry sauce and a milkshake made from mashed potato candy and a turkey ice cream cake.

Sister Torres, who described her cooking style as “eclectic,” said her strategy in the “Chopped” kitchen was “to have as much fun as possible.”

“Meals are central in the symbolism of our faith,” she said. “I try to be a good steward of all the food that comes in here.” Torres said during the show that Our Lady of Angels served meals to about 700 families a month.

Other “Chopped” participants included chef Gretchen Roth, who manages food at the Bowery Mission; Victor Squire, head chef at the Open Door shelter in Norwalk CT, and Bonnie Kepplinger, a volunteer at Chicago’s The Crib at the Night Ministry, a shelter for LGBT youth.

This is not the first time a nun has had success on a reality TV show. Sister Christina wowed judges of the Italian version of “The Voice.”

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