June 27, 2023, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College culinary professor Jenn Struik made it to the final round of a popular Food Network game show. But in the end, she got Chopped.
Struik is a GRCC alumna who returned to the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education to help the next generations of students find success in the kitchen.
She said last week that she’s long been a fan of Chopped, where four chefs compete against each other in preparing an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert.
The ingredients make things complicated, with contestants on the show that aired Tuesday presented with items including beef fat fudge, roasted bone marrow, and a steak cake – meat buried in mashed potatoes.
Struik sailed through the appetizer and entrée rounds, and judges had praise for her dessert crumble, which contained the marrow, hash brown waffles, plums and goat cheese caramel.
But judges said her bison ribeye in the entrée was slightly undercooked, and awarded the $10,000 top prize to Atlanta-based Chef Marlo Nash.
Struik said recently the episode, which was filmed in New York in October, was stressful.
The chefs had 20 minutes to make the appetizer, 30 minutes each for the entrée and the dessert and then the presentation time for the show’s three judges.
It was her second appearance on the Food Network, winning the top prize on Supermarket Stakeout, where chefs create dishes from groceries they purchase from nearby supermarket customers.
When not competing at teaching at GRCC, Struik is a chef and registered dietician. She also was a coach for the team of GRCC culinary students who were finalists in the recent NASA HUNCH competition, and prepared a meal judged by astronauts and other NASA leaders.
She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in dietetics before earning certifications in Culinary Arts, Personal Chef and Chef Training from GRCC. Struik teaches at GRCC, but also has worked as a dietician for local hospital systems.
Since 2018, Struik has run her own business, called Jenny with the Good Eats, offering weekly meal prep, including for those with chronic health conditions; private in-home dining experiences; cooking classes; restaurant consulting and more.
“Feeling proud of the journey in my career so far,” she said. “And having these opportunities and such wonderful experiences.”
Phil de Haan contributed to this story.