Hudson Valley Chef Is a Food Network Champion
Dafna Mizrahi, the co-owner and Executive Chef at Monte's Local Kitchen and Tap Room in Amenia, New York, was declared a Chopped Champion on the Food Network's cooking challenge show.
The episode which aired on Thanksgiving night pitted Mizrahi against three male opponents. The challenge was a "Gastro Pub," all of four judges had to create a three-course meal using mystery ingredients and a pub theme.
The Amenia chef impressed a panel of celebrity chefs and judges who determined her meal was the best to win the a $10,000 prize. The judges were especially appreciative of the young chef's presentation and innovative techniques. At 23, Mizrahi is one of the youngest Chopped Champions ever.
Mizrahi believes her background of being Mexican and Jewish set her up for success in the cooking world because food from both cultures was a huge part of her upbringing. She was born in Mexico and moved to Atlanta, Georgia as a child, were she had to teach herself how to speak English. Mirzahi says she knew at the young age of seven that she wanted to be a chef.
Mizrahi came to the Hudson Valley for college graduating from the Culinary Institute of America. In 2014 she helped open up Monte's Local Kitchen and Tap Room. The restaurant features farm to table cuisine and is already a favorite with diners all across the Hudson Valley.
She considers Dutchess County her home and plans donate some of her winnings to help support Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue, a local non-profit organization. The Dover Plains non-profit rescues horses and provides a safe place for the animals. Lucky Orphans also offers therapeutic riding to those who can benefit from the experience, including survivors of domestic violence and those on the autism spectrum.
Prior to being named a Chopped Champion, Mizrahi was interviewed on The Boris & Robyn Show. You can listen to her interview here:
With her Chopped victory, Mizrahi will go onto to compete in an episode of Chopped Champions to air sometime next year.