By Brandon Smith
Students at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education should be sure to tune in to the Food Network tonight for a chance to see Professor Jenn Struik competing on “Chopped” against three other chefs from across the country. The episode was filmed in New York City back in October, but will air Tuesday, June 27.
“Chopped” is a show that takes four chefs per episode and has them compete in a three-round cooking contest. Contestants are given four mystery ingredients at the beginning of each round, and must use them to make an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Each round has a time limit: the contestants get 20 minutes for appetizers and 30 minutes each for entrée and dessert. At the end of each round, the chefs’ dishes are critiqued by three judges who decide on one chef to “chop” from the competition. The last chef remaining at the end of the final round wins $10,000.
The episode that Struik will appear on is titled “Meat and Taters!” It is episode 27 of Season 54.
Struik has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in dietetics, certifications in culinary arts and chef training from Grand Rapids Community College, and runs her own personal chef service called Jenny with the Good Eats. Interestingly enough, this is not her first television appearance: back in 2021, Struik (as Jennifer Fillenworth) made an appearance on “Supermarket Stakeout” in an episode called “Greek, Sweet, and Open-faced Eats.” She was pronounced the winner after her open-faced sandwich beat out her opponents in the final round and won $10,000.
In a GRCC news release, Struik said that she and her friends loved “Chopped” when it began airing when she was in high school, and they would hold similar cooking competitions for fun. Practicing making dishes with random ingredients would turn out to be a good experience, but it did not prepare her to experience the real thing.
According to the news release, Struik noted that “Chopped” is “one of the most stressful culinary competitions.” She says that she wears a Whoop, a fitness band that monitors the user’s heart rate, and she could see her activity spike throughout different points during the competition.
While Struik has remained vague on how far she made it through the competition, she has expressed that she’s very excited for her family and friends to see it. The excitement is palpable throughout GRCC as culinary students eagerly await to see one of their professors cooking for an audience of millions.
The Collegiate could not reach Struik for comment. The episode airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on the Food Network.