Montclair Boy to Compete on Food Network’s Chopped Teen Tournament

Chopped Teen Tournament

Set your DVR’s to the Food Network on August 5  because Montclair’s own Jake Diamond will be battling it out on the Chopped Teen Tournament. If he wins that episode, the soon-to-be Renaissance eighth grader will get to compete on the season finale where the winner will walk away with a $25,000 prize and a culinary school scholarship.

Jake, who was also featured on Barista Kids two years ago when he competed on Super Chef Kids, was first introduced to cooking when he was five years old and immediately fell in love. “I’m a creative person and cooking lets me express that. I like to try new things and I love being able to just whip something up,” Jake explains. Now, an old pro in the kitchen, he enjoys preparing meat, cod and any kind of chicken. His favorite creation, though, is his hamburger. Jake’s twist on the traditional burger includes a sriracha sauce heat component along with onions, cheese and some other yummy ingredients.

Like the kitchen, Jake says he’s also used to being in front of the camera. “My dad’s been taping me for family videos for years and I make YouTube videos so it feels comfortable. I don’t really stress over it.” So when he heard about Chopped Teen Tournament through a friend of his dad’s, he quickly got to work on his audition tape. After an interview round, Jake was selected as one of the sixteen contestants on this series. Each week four different culinary kid wonders serve up their best appetizers, entrees and desserts using a handful of ingredients that are challenging enough to make even a pro scream ‘mercy.’ The winners of each episode will then compete on the finale on August 12 in the hopes of nabbing the grand prize.

To prep for the competition, Jake’s parents put him through the paces of an actual show. They would give him four ingredients and thirty minutes to prepare a meal and then they would judge him. It was tough in the beginning he recounts. “I had to get used to the thirty minutes — it’s hard to cook meat well in thirty minutes. That was a challenge at first, but the experience really helped me on the show.”

Being a fan of Chopped, Jake was excited to meet the judges (Jake’s episode has already been taped, but he remained mum as to the results). He said he was most surprised by Chris Santos. “He comes off as kind of harsh on the show, but he’s really an awesome guy. Actually, everyone was great.” He’s quick to add that he went on the show mainly for the experience and to have fun. Of course, the extra attention at home with friends and family cheering him on has been an added bonus. Overall, Jake says the whole experience has been amazing. “I feel privileged to be a part of it.”

(Photo courtesy of the Food Network)




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