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September 20, 2016

Local chefs to compete on 'Hell's Kitchen,' 'Chopped Junior'

Food show fanatic? Keep an eye out for some familiar faces while watching this week.

Tuesday night, catch Tavia Isaac, 12, of Chester, on Food Network's "Chopped Junior" in the episode "Hot Minute" at 8 p.m. Isaac will be competing for a shot at $10,000. Similar to the network's hit "Chopped," the spinoff has young chefs between 9 and 15 years old whip up a dish from an undisclosed basket containing a handful of ingredients.

The show's website says that competitors will get 30 minutes to cook minute steak as the appetizer while trying to incorporate ketchup. For dessert, chefs will use "fruit and a fun snack cake." Chefs Amanda Freitag, Kristen Kish and former Red Sox player Jason Varitek will serve as the judges

The Delaware County Times reported that Isaac, who's home-schooled through the Agora Cyber Charter School and has Crohn's disease, learned to love cooking from her grandmother, former Chester Councilwoman Annette Burton.

“Tavia got her love of cooking from my mother, former Chester Councilwoman Annette Burton,” Crystal Isaac, Tavia's mother, told the paper. “They used to watch ‘Chopped’ together when she was about 8 years old. She started making things in the kitchen, and by now, she is basically the main cook in our house. Cooking is her passion.”

Johnny McDevitt, of Philadelphia, and Andrew Pearce, of New Castle, Delaware, will compete against 16 others on Friday night's premiere of the 16th season of Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" starring Chef Gordon Ramsey, first reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

McDevitt was first approached for the show while working at Sketch Burger, a Fishtown staple, while Pearce serves as the executive chef at SugarHouse casino's Hugo's Frog Bar & Chop House.

The two will compete for the show's grand prize – a head chef position at Las Vegas' Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian. The show airs at 8 p.m.