Owner of Alcenia’s to compete on Chopped

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —B.J. Chester-Tamayo will be in a place she never thought she'd ever be tonight — the chopping block.

Chester-Tamayo, chef and owner of downtown soul food restaurant Alcenia's, will be competing on the popular Food Network show "Chopped" tonight at 8.

But she's having trouble believing it.

“I’m looking at my phone like… 'Chopped?' And he like, we want you to apply for 'Chopped' and I’m like ‘You have got to be kidding?’” she said.

Chester-Tamayo isn't new to the spotlight. She has been featured on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" in its fourth season.

Despite writing and publishing her own cookbook the local chef still felt as if she wasn't "Chopped" material, so much, so she rejected the offer to go on "Chopped" twice.

“The third time, it's just like God says ‘Okay, don’t get stuck on stupid let's do this,’ and I’m like, okay, I’m gonna do this. I don’t know why you all want me to come on chopped. I’m not a chef. I didn’t cook growing up."

The show has contestants compete with one another by providing them with a basket filled with mystery ingredients they need to use to make a dish.

“If you just come in here and say BJ, cook with me, we cool, I got you but when you talk about 'Chopped,' have you ever seen 'Chopped?' Have you seen the baskets? You looking at the baskets like what am I going to do with this?"

Did she win? You'll have to tune in to find out. But it was an experience she thanks God and her customers for.

“I was so blessed, I had three of the nicest judges that you could ever have. That’s another thing because sometimes the judges are, you know, kinda not so nice. The three that I had were just fantastic.”

Chester-Tamayo says that although she believes the other contestants may have had more training than she did she's learned that you just never know where life will take you.

“It’s about all the people who have entered the doors at Alcenia’s that have made this possible.”

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