Monday, October 31, 2016


Are you a fan of Chopped? Have you ever wanted to meet the chefs to find out how they deal with all that pressure? Well, we caught up with Lyanna Cintron, the Battle 2 Winner from Food Network's Chopped Teen Tournament to get all the yummy details about her and the show.  This savvy chef from Queens New York got her start in the culinary world by making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her mom at the tender age of 6.  The rest, as they say, is history.  

**Waving hello as Lyanna gets situated.

What made you decide to get on Chopped?
My baking instructor,Adrienne Terzuoli had a notice on the bulletin board in class at Food and Finance, and encouraged me to try.

Yay Adrienne! There are lots of famous chefs, particularly in New York.  Is there one you admire or would enjoy working with?
Chef Marcus Samuelsson & Chef Lyanna

Chef Carla Hall & Chef Lyanna
Chef Ramsey is someone I admire  and would love to meet and work with.  I love his passion in the kitchen, when he's not so angry or slamming things around. (lol)

Chef Gordon Ramsay from the show Hell's Kitchen

Agreed, I would say he definitely has passion, and his blue eyes are electric! Would we ever catch you eating a cheeseburger or hot dog?
Just because I can make fancy dishes doesn't mean I don't enjoy a hotdog every once in awhile. I actually prefer that over a cheeseburger.

Give me my cheeseburger any day! (lol) Are you the designated cook in the kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner, and if so, what's on the menu?
I would probably say that I'm the head cook during Thanksgiving because I'm designated to prepare the turkey and yams.  Other than that, me and my brother help out my mom as she needs us.

One of your menu items on the show was sausage and peppers. How quickly did you get to think about that?
At most, I think I had less than 3 minutes to put everything together in my head before I had to take off running!

That dish looks phenomenal! What time did you actually arrive at the Chopped Studio, and is everything completed in just one day?
We arrived at 7am, and left at 8pm, so everything was recorded all in one day.

We're all dying to know what you ate throughout the day.
Well, everyone had to get to the designated hotel individually. Once we arrived, there was this really fantastic breakfast there. When everyone finished, we headed to the studio in a van to get started. During the middle of the day, the culinary team prepared a really nice lunch for everyone before we recorded the dessert round.
A culinary masterpiece from Chef Lyanna

The other contestants during your show were Tommy, Nathan and Samantha.  Was everyone friendly?
Everyone was really nice, but I bonded the most with Tommy, and we still talk today.  We'll actually be going to the CIA together in March 2017.

Speaking of school, what kind of plans do you have, and do you still need funding?
Once I graduate from high school later this year, I'd like to be able to travel a little and find a job before going to the CIA. How else am I supposed to gain worldly experiences, right?  I was really blessed to win a 2 year scholarship to the CIA, but I still need funding for my Bachelor's Degree which I don't have right now.

The Garlic Butter Shrimp & Fried Calamari dish  looked delicious, and everyone loved the way you prepared it. Since you've been working at a well-known restaurant like Carbone's, would you say Italian food is your fave?  In case you didn't see the show, this is what was in those daunting baskets.

Appetizer: saucisson en croute, quinoa, white harissa, seaweed salad
Entree: squid, lemon candy, kusa squash, shrimp cocktail
Dessert: pirate’s breakfast, French pastries, strawberries, citrus soda
All types of food are my favorites, but I would have to say Italian is pretty high up there.

How long does it really take for a decision to be made of who gets chopped?
As I was sitting in that room waiting, it seemed like it took the longest time ever, but that was due to nerves and anxiety.  In reality, they decide in about 2-3 minutes.

That's a lot faster than I thought.What would people be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that my second career would be photography.  I love taking pictures of beautiful scenery.

Wow!  That's pretty quick! I know you're super busy, but what do you watch on television when you have time, and what was the last movie you enjoyed?
Law & Order SVU, Young and Hungry, and long list of others.  I watched a movie called Me Before You.

I love reruns of law and Order SVU, too.  As romance readers, we have to be nosy about your love life. (lol) 
Well, Declan is my boyfriend, and he is the most amazing guy ever!  He's tall with the most beautiful eyes,
and he's just as weird as I am.  What's great is that we both love each other for who we are with no changes, and he makes our relationship feel like a fairytale.   He likes for me to give him new recipes to cook and he does a really good job, so I give him props.  He also makes some mean scrambled eggs and sausages.  I also like that he takes me out to different restaurants to expand my culinary knowledge.  Declan is definitely a keeper.

How romantic!  What 3 things must you have in the kitchen?
Salt/Pepper, Chef's Knife and Olive Oil

Where will we see Chef Lyanna in 4 years?
Hopefully graduating with my Bachelors from the CIA and working in a High End Restaurant.

Oops!  Before you leave, I've been dying to know this for years. Do you get to keep those really cool chef jackets?
LOL - Yes, They mail them to us.

Thanks so much for such a fun interview. You may not have won the $25,000 grand prize, but you're still a STAR to us!  

Don't forget to help this brilliant young chef of 17 reach her dream of getting a Bachelor's Degree at the CIA by visiting:


  1. You have just reminded me that I have not yet eaten this morning and as usual right when I come to your page I'm STARVING. It was a pleasure reading through the interview! The girl seems very talented and OMG her food looked amazing! <3 Thanks for this inside look!

    1. I had so much fun with Lyanna, too. Hope you get to check out the rerun of the show soon. Welcome back!!! Hugs...

  2. How interesting! I love Chopped and really enjoyed this interview. What a driven intelligent young woman. Those are some of the most appetizing dishes I've seen prepared on Chopped! I've always wondered if they got to keep the Chef's coats.

    1. I have been hooked on this show for years, and it was a thrill to meet Lyanna. She's truly talented to be so young. Hugs...

  3. I love that. I've been watching Chopped for a long time and love the show.

    1. Isn't it a great show,Mary? There is no way I could cook under all that pressure and not look like a nutcase on tv! Hugs...

  4. Wow! What an amazing experience! And how brave of Lyanna to take on the Chopped challenge.

    My family has been talking for years about dividing into teams and doing a home Chopped Challenge of our own. I keep chickening out because I know my husband and younger daughter will team up and beat the pants off me and my older daughter. :/

    1. LOL! At least you guys are talking about it. In 30 minutes, I would still be trying to figure out a dish to prepare. You're right, it is brave to see these people get on tv in front of thousands of people. Particularly someone young. When you do your Chopped Challenge, we ant lots and lots of pics! (lol) Hugs...

  5. I'm a fan of all three Law & Order shows. I especially enjoy marathons on a "snow" day. Thanks for the post.

    1. Kindred spirits, Angela. I can't seem to help myself and watch them over and over, too. (lol) Now if I could only interview Mariska or Ice T to get the inside scoop. Hugs...

  6. Oh wow! This show is intense! Congratulations. :) I know the recipes are more often scary but it still makes me want to try them once they're put together. This is such a great experience!

    1. I know, right? Some of the things in those baskets are crazy, and I know I couldn't figure out what to do in that amount of time, but I'm hooked on watching it. Love meeting Lyanna, who is super fun. Hugs...

  7. I've actually never seen this show! But gah it sounds like one I would really enjoy!

    1. I don't know if it streams, but if you ever see it, it will really get you to thinking about cool new ideas! Hugs...

  8. How exciting!!! If I were a chef, Gordon Ramsey is definitely someone I'd want to work with. I've never watched him outside of Kitchen Nightmares, though!

    1. The way he describes food is sooo descriptive and magical. Makes you want to meet him AND taste the food.

  9. I have never watched Chopped, but you have me both curious and Loved the interview, what a fun experience for any chef.

    1. This show is intense and you only get 30 minutes to come up with a recipe with these crazy ingredients. No way I could do it, but to see such a young chef do so well, was amazing. Hugs...

  10. I don't know why I can't see the pics... I love Chopped! It's so intense!

    1. I'm sorry Braine. Maybe if you look later, they may show up. I remember once posting comments for 2 days over at Dark Thoughts with Mary, and they didn't show up until 3 days later. Crazy!


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