New Mexico restaurant owner to compete on ‘Chopped’

New Mexico chef to compete on ‘Chopped’

An acclaimed New Mexico chef is putting his reputation on the chopping block with an upcoming appearance on Food Network's "Chopped."

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Many New Mexico chefs have been cooking up their talents on the national stage, including one Albuquerque chef and restaurant owner.

Israel Rivera has owned “The Shop Breakfast and Lunch” in Nob Hill for ten years.

“Kind of New Mexican, mostly American, with some Mexican influences but definitely regionally inspired,” he said.

Chef Rivera has been cooking for much longer than that, though.

“I’ve been cooking professionally for 21 years. It’s all I’ve ever done and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it,” he said.

Now, after receiving many awards and local recognition, Rivera is putting his skills on the chopping block. He will compete on Food Network’s “Chopped.”

“You can apply for the shows and obviously a lot of people do. I did in the past like a bunch of times because everyone wants to be on ‘Chopped.’ ‘Chopped’ is the competition through which all other food competitions are based,” Rivera said. “You don’t know what you’re cooking before you get there. The only thing they told us is that it’s a southwestern-style battle”

But, it’s far from his first time on national TV. Rivera has been on other cooking shows, like “Beat Bobby Flay” and “Supermarket Stakeout.”

“The more we are mentioned, the more we are out there, putting ourselves in the spotlight the more people can recognize that were here. We have all the great chefs and restaurants just like any other city,” he said.

Rivera will appear on the June 25 episode of “Chopped.” The episode airs at 6 p.m. MT on Food Network.