Chopped Champion – A Filipina from Cavite

A Filipina from Cavite was crowed as the winner of the reality-based cooking show Chopped hosted by Ted Allen

The winner is Joyce Anne Bucad whose cooking was considered the best among three other competitors this led her to become the chopped champion for its Doughnut Dash episode of 38th season of the episode. This happened last June 19, 2018.

“Never have I ever thought of myself joining a cooking competition on TV, but I’m sure glad I did,” the 34-year-old Assistant Pastry Chef at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas told GMA Lifestyle on Facebook messenger. “I wanted to win so bad,” she added.

Each episode features four chefs competing against each other in a three-round contest to get them to cook a full three-course meal: a round for appetizers, another for the main course, and finally dessert. For every round, one competitor gets booted out until a winner emerges to claim the prize of $10,000.

In the first round, Joyce Anne made an entrance, creating a dish that was heavily inspired by her Filipino heritage. She used the doughnut as crouton to the chinese celery and arugula salad with mostarda glazed corned beef.

“During one of the interviews, I was asked about my flavor profile. I said that Filipino food is sweet, sour and salty and so I draw inspiration on all those flavors to create the dish I was making for the appetizer round.”

In the main course round, she made bison tostadas with rainbow carrot slaw, and salsa using the blueberry doughnut. And in the dessert round, Joyce went against Chef Oscar in creating their very own doughnuts.

“My food is heavily influenced by Filipino food that I grew up eating and cooking,” Joyce Anne says. “Even now that I’m in the US, I still cook Filipino food for my family, friends and colleagues. I draw on my childhood favorites and my most cherished food memories to create my unique flavor profile.”

The Doughnut Dash episode featured none other than Martha Stewart as a judge, which had Joyce Anne’s “stomach in knots the whole time. It was definitely a memorable experience,” she shares.

“It was very competitive. I was competing with three other driven chefs – one was known as the ‘Donut King,’ another was the Pastry Chef for an Iron Chef America winner, and the other was a Cupcake Wars winner…All of us wanted the title ‘Chopped Champion’.”

The episode was filmed six months ago, in January, after a long and tedious application process. “You have to submit an application, there’s quite a few interviews. I did a couple of demos to showcase my savory and pastry sides,” the PUP Industrial Engineering graduate narrated.

Along with her fiancé Mike, it was Joyce’s mentor, Chef Roy Ellamar — previously a Chopped champ as well — who encouraged her to join the cooking competition.

“The decision to join came about shortly after I had a conversation with my fiancé about the opportunity. I had nothing to lose but everything to gain.”

The episode, Joyce Anne shared, took an entire day to film. “It was a very long day for me,” she said, which doesn’t sound unlike her usual schedule. “As a chef long hours, long days and long weeks are all part of the territory.”

And for those days, Joyce Anne says she looks to pork adobo as her comfort food. “It always brings me back to my childhood spent with my maternal grandmother. My adobo is inspired by hers. In my house I cook pork adobo as often as I could, My fiancé enjoys it, my kids especially love it among other Filipino food that I cook for them.”