(United States) – Maria Petridis, a Greek-American who owns a restaurant in Queens in New York City, won an episode of “Chopped” on the Food Network. Maria competed on the 31st season of Chopped in the episode titled, “Basket Buzz”, which aired on December 27, 2016. Petridis moved to the United States in Queens eighteen years ago from Greece. On the the episode she talked about how she went from being a farm girl in Greece to owning a successful restaurant in Queens after she raised her children. The restaurant, which is called Maria’s Mediterranean Seafood & Grill, is located on Bell Boulevard in Bayside, which is a neighborhood in Queens.
The competition paired Maria with three other talented chefs. In the first round, Maria’s appetizer fell short. Although her fish was perfectly cooked, she overcooked the pasta. She redeemed herself in the main course round, where she stuffed eggplant with lamb and couscous and finished it with a gorgonzola bechemel sauce. The dish was reminiscent of papoutsakia and was a hit with the judges. The final dessert round pitted Maria against Renée Fox, a chef-owner from Santa Fe, New Mexico. After Renée was eliminated in the dessert round Maria was declared the champion. Maria won $10,000, which she then donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
At the end of the episode, Maria shared some of her thoughts. When the judges asked her what her husband would say, she said that he would’ve replied, “I told you so.” She also spent some time thanking those who believed in her. She said, “Thank you so much. Thank you for being here. All of you here are so special to me. You are always there when I need you, and I hope that someday I can repay you all back.” She also told the audience that she thought the Make-a-Wish Foundation was a great charity and that she hopes we check it out.