Marie Yniguez’s bucket list always contained a trip to New York City.
Little did she know that the Food Network would send her there for an episode of “Chopped.”
“I was there for a few extra days,” she says. “My days were changed for the show. So I got to enjoy New York City for three cool days before I taped for the show. It’s been on my bucket list and I was able to experience the food and the culture.”
Yniguez is the chef and owner of Bocadillos at Green Jeans Farmery in Albuquerque.
The episode of “Chopped” airs at 8 tonight on Food Network.
“Chopped,” is hosted by Ted Allen and the series pits four chefs against one another as they compete for a chance to win $10,000. The chefs have to create an appetizer, an entree and a dessert.
The episode that Yniguez appears on is titled “Raw Deal” and has the competitors work with raw fish for the appetizer, then a wonder drink and beautiful peppers for the entree and a hefty salt block for the dessert round.
“I had never worked with any types of these items before,” she says. “At the beginning, I heard my grandma’s voice inside my head and I just went for it.”
Bocadillos makes all its meals from scratch, sourcing from local businesses and farms.
It started selling breakfast burritos the summer of 2009, later opening a small cafe in the South Valley to cater small business meetings, weddings and other events.
Bocadillos currently provides breakfast and lunch for more than 500 students a day for the Native American Community Academy.
Yniguez’s time on “Chopped” isn’t her first time on TV. In 2013, she appeared on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
“The producers put out a casting call last summer and I never finished my application,” she says. “I had got so busy and a month later they called me and I finished it up. We did a couple of Skype interviews and it finally came together.”
Yniguez is a native New Mexican and self taught when it comes to cooking.
She picked things up from her family and has worked at honing her skills.
At Bocadillos, she often pulls around 12 hours a day and says her time in New York helped reinvigorate her.
“The heartbeat of New York is much faster and it suits me well,” she says. “There was so much to see and to eat. I wanted to take it all in and just learn about different types of food. The opportunity made me strive to learn more about cultures and food.”