WINNER!: Natalia Machado
Chef de Cuisine/Jr. Executive Chef at Industria Argentina Restaurant
Tribeca - New York, NY
I grew up in Buenos Aires and was planning to become a doctor. I took a semester off from med school, got a job at a restaurant and fell in love with it. So I dropped out of med school and worked in French restaurants throughout Argentina. I moved to NYC to work at a restaurant for 6 months and have been here for 8 years. Most people think that women are too emotional to handle the pressure of the kitchen, but I take charge of every situation. I'm tough, I'm smart, and I have the skills to win.
Executive Chef at Home Restaurant
New York, NY
I grew up in a small town in Sonoma County in the heart of California wine country. Everything was local and I had never seen bagged lettuce before moving to SF to study theater in college. I worked in restaurants all along the west coast – from Portland to Santa Barbara, before coming to NYC. My food is heavily influenced by my California roots. It's simple, unpretentious, and there are no complicated sauces or foams. I like a really quiet kitchen and always ask people to be quiet and not bang pots. Winning will be a way for me to say, "you see, I told you that I'm that good."
Chef/Partner at Chow Bar and Chinos
New York, NY
I love Asian cuisine so much that the guys I work for nicknamed my bike Edemame 1. I ride it all the time to shop for fresh ingredients at the farmer's market. Even though I have a mellow attitude because I'm a 70's child, I'm definitely someone who wants to be ahead of the pack. I didn't know there was a cash prize involved when I applied for CHOPPED. I'm doing this for the sense of accomplishment I will get from competing against my peers.
Owner, chef/mixologist at iFood Studios
New York, NY
I moved to the U.S. from Venezuela when I was 13. As the oldest sibling of four, I learned how to take care of brothers and sisters and feed them because my mom was always working. I got a scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America but I didn't have immigration papers so couldn't accept it. Instead of going to school, I apprenticed with the best chefs: Cyril Renaud, Rocco DiSpirito.Josh DeChellis, and Sam Mason. Four years ago I decided to venture out on my own and open iFood Studios. I have a program on Spanish TV, I have made cocktails for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, a chocolate cocktail dress for Kelly Ripa that was on Live with Regis and Kelly. If I win, I want to take my whole family on a big vacation because we grew up really poor and we've never been able to go on a tropical vacation.