Erica Beneke, executive chef of Max’s Wine Dive in Austin, took home the victory on Food Network’s Chopped.
The popular network series requires four chefs to open mystery baskets consisting of foreign ingredients and odd flavor combinations and prepare dishes that showcase their culinary creativity in an appetizer, entree, and dessert round. The competition pitted Beneke against chefs Erik Cho, Vanessa Ayala, and Vincent Williams. Beneke is the fourth Austin chef to compete on the show this spring.
Beneke dishes included fried plantains with coriander-crusted catfish, apple, and cilantro; fried capon wing with potatoes and halloumi with blueberries, paprika, and chiles; and fried pizza dough empanadas with cookies and cream filling, strawberries, vanilla, and sugar.
“It was a huge honor to be chosen to compete on Food Network’s Chopped and I was thrilled to have come out on top. It was an extremely exciting experience, and I’ve been blown away by the support shown by my friends, family, colleagues, and the entire MAX’s Wine Dive family,” Beneke told Texas Monthly. “It was important for me to represent MAX’s, the city of Austin, and especially young female chefs in the best way possible, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than with a victory.”
Beneke brought home $10,000 for winning the competition.