A Catholic nun is set to appear on Chopped, the Food Network’s cooking completion reality show.
Sister Alicia Torres, a member of the Chicago-based Franciscans of the Eucharist, competed against three other cooks in a special Thanksgiving edition of the show set to air Monday (Nov. 9).
Contestants on Chopped are given a basket of mystery ingredients, and in a limited amount of time, they must craft a creative, tasty, and stylish dish. There are three rounds — appetizer, entrée, and dessert — with one cook being kicked off the show after each round following a tasting by the judges.
The results are not revealed until the show airs.
The four contestants for the “Thanksgiving Soup-er Stars” episode were chosen because of their work with soup kitchens, and the winner received $10,000 to donate to charity.
During the first round, the Food Network announced, the contestants were asked to make an appetizer from “typical Thanksgiving leftovers.” The two cooks who made it to the final round were given an ice cream cake and “a starchy candy” to form into some kind of dessert.
Sister Torres told the Chicago Tribune that working in a soup kitchen helped prepare her for the show.
“I went into the competition with a lot of experience just really playing it creatively with food because everything we receive is providence and a gift,” she said. “You don’t always know what’s coming in. You want to be able to be a good steward.”
While not naming her competition, she said that a common mission permeated the atmosphere.
“Because we all serve the underserved and underprivileged, there was a spirit of unity,” she said. “We were competing for our charities. That was really beautiful.”
The community Sister Torres belongs to is new, founded in 2010 by the Rev. Robert Lombardo at the invitation of the late Cardinal Francis George. Sister Torres entered the community later that year, and she professed her final vows last month.
The community serves the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, located in a poor Chicago neighborhood. Its mission is “to assist the materially poor and to share the treasure of our Catholic Faith,” according to its website.
In addition to the soup kitchen, the Mission also runs an afterschool program and hosts summer block parties.
Sister Torres isn’t the first nun to make headlines by participating on reality TV.
Last year, Sister Cristina Scuccia took first place in the Italian version of The Voice, wowing judges with her rendition of Alicia Keys’ “No One.” A few months later, the 26-year-old Ursuline sister released a music video, covering Madonna’s “Like A Virgin,” one of the tracks on her album that came out last November.
A 2014 series on Lifetime, The Sisterhood, chronicled a group of 20-somethings discerning a call to religious life. That show featured three different communities of sisters, located in New York, Chicago, and Kentucky.