12-Year-Old Chef Overcomes Crohn’s Disease to Win ‘Chopped Junior’

George Back

Twelve-year-old Tavia Isaac isn’t your typical chef. Apart from being in only 6th grade, she suffers from Crohn’s disease, which made it all the more impressive that she won Chopped Junior. The disease, which inhibits her from eating certain foods, was the catalyst for her becoming a chef. She said, “I became a cook when I was 8 years old and was in the hospital with Crohn’s disease. I turned to Food Network and Chopped was on, and I stayed up the entire night watching it, even though I wasn’t feeling so well.”

“With Crohn’s you can only have certain diets,” she said “There’s different ways you can prepare the food you want to eat so you just have to have the knowledge on how to prepare it.”

Former Boston Red Sox player Jason Varitek was a guest judge and said of her entree dish, “Tavia had the most perfectly presented cornish hen, nice, crispy crust and was able to fry it in brown butter and the end result was phenomenal.”

Isaac won the $10,000 grand prize and said she plans on donating some of it to feeding the homeless in her hometown of Chester, Penn.

Chopped Junior airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Food Network.

Watch a girl with celiac disease wow the judges:

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