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13 Year Old Rachel Goldzal From Staten Island on Food Network’s Chopped

Name: Rachel Goldzal

Age: 13

Yeshiva/School: Jewish Foundation School

Lives in: Staten Island, NY

 

How did this whole experience with the show Chopped happen?

Ever since I was a little kid I always watched the show Chopped and always dreamed of being on it. So one night my friend Dylan Lankry and I made a little video of me cooking. I filled out the online application all by myself and sent it to them! Then after months of anxiously waiting and driving my parent’s nuts we actually heard back from Chopped! There were 2 more rounds of the application process including a Skype interview until it was finally official that I made the final cut and would appear on Chopped.

Please explain to people that might not know, how the show works?

The show begins with 4 chefs and 3 judges and Tedd Allen of course as the host. There are 3 20-30 minute timed courses where each Chef is given a basket of 4 mystery ingredients that must be incorporated into their dish. They are judged on taste, presentation and creativity. At the end of each round one Chef gets chopped!

Has there ever been a kosher chef on the show that’s your age?

That’s hard to say with over 40 seasons already aired (even I haven’t seen them all lol). There have been other Jewish chefs on the show for sure. As far as I know there was 2 kosher chefs; a young boy Eitan Bernath and a Rabbi Hanoch Hecht from Chabad. I don’t know what Kosher accommodations were made for them. I can only speak for my episode and my experience and Chopped was very accommodating on the Kosher side of things.What did you actually cook on the show?

I can’t discuss that due to confidentiality – You’ll have to wait till Tuesday September 4th @9pm to find out!!

At what age did you start cooking?

I was around 8 years old when I started really cooking.

Who taught you how to cook?

My mom and my grandmother would let me help a lot in the kitchen and showed me all the basics while they would cook every Erev Shabbas and Yom Tov. My uncle Yitzy Jacobowitz owner of Essen NY deli in Brooklyn also showed me a few things. Over the summers I went to Camp Nesher (best camp ever) and I signed up for the Culinary program run by Susie Fishbein and Friends. I absolutely loved it while also giving me the skills I really needed to cook professionally.

Then once I made it onto the show I trained under Chef Sam Kadko for a few weeks who really helped prepare me for the competition.

Who do you look up to in the culinary world?

I admire all those Jewish cooks who juggle there lives for cooking and a religious Jewish life.

What are you cooking for Rosh Hashana?

My mom and I are last minute chefs because we don’t like to freeze a lot (my dad won’t eat it). I’m sure the kitchen will be filled with lot of chicken, meats, roasted veggies, kugels, meatballs, ribs, and of course chicken soup. And 100% course my mom’s awesome Apple Crisp.

What is your favorite dish to make?

I love making steak, especially rib eye with usually a starch on the side; maybe mashed potatoes or truffle mushroom risotto. I always like to put a vegetable so maybe a grilled veggie mint salad of roasted broccoli.

What is your father’s favorite dish that you make?

My dad LOVES when I cook for him! He has to taste all my dishes and if I don’t save him any he gets really mad LOL! My shakshuka and my chicken and potatoes are probably his favorites of mine.

How popular are you these days?

Since word got out that I would be appearing on Chopped my Instagram has blown up. LOL. I did a live interview with Elan Kornblum from Great Kosher Restaurant Foodies. A whole bunch of Jewish magazines -including The Vues and The Country Vues- and bloggers have reached out for an interview. It is all so exciting. NY1 even came to my house to do a story on me!

Follow me on Instagram @rachel_in_the_kidchen

Do you have any idea what you would like to do professionally when you get older?

I would like to be a private chef and maybe write a cookbook one day. While the excitement of running a restaurant was a dream of mine I think it might be too much for me.