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Dream Come True For Fort Lee Chef On 'Chopped'

Fort Lee native Christopher Holland
Fort Lee native Christopher Holland Photo Credit: Jason DeCrow

FORT LEE, N.J. -- Dreams really do come true, and Fort Lee native Christopher Holland will be among the first to attest.

Holland, who is the chef at D'Vine Kitchen and Bar in Sparkill, N.Y., is competing on "Chopped: Alton's Challenge," Tuesday at 10 p.m.

The show is a five-part tournament hosted by chef Alton Brown.

Appearing on "Chopped," was something Holland always wanted and he had sent in his application many times until producers finally gave him a call.

"I was super excited," Holland said. "Alton Brown is my idol and I got to cook with him. It was nervewracking but it was one of the best experiences of my life."

On "Chopped," contestants attempt to make a meal out of a potpourri of ingredients that are graded by three judges.

In each episode, four chefs compete in a three-round contest, where they attempt to incorporate unusual combinations of ingredients into dishes that are later evaluated by a panel of three judges

The one drawback was Holland had to be the studio, in Manhattan, at 6 a.m. to begin filming. But he didn't let it deter his confidence.

"It's my style of food," Holland said. "I am always cooking with weird stuff. I wasn't intimidated seeing some of the ingredients. The show was tailor-made for me."

Holland said Brown was amazing to work with.

"The best part was getting to meet him," Holland said. "I learned how to cook from watching him. I owe my career to him. I got to thank him and shake his hand."

When they began taping, Brown called all the chefs over, but Holland didn't hear him.

"He yelled, 'Get over here, Chef Sleepyhead!,'" Holland said. "That is one sentence I'll never forget."

With his TV debut just days away, Holland said he is getting excited and feeling a little bit nervous.

"The thing about cooking in that amount of time is that it's impossible to do it perfectly," Holland said. I know it's going to bother me to know the food I was making was not as good as it could be. But I am looking forward to it like someone looks forward to Christmas. I just want the week to end so we can get to it."

Holland said he aims to make D'Vine one of the best restaurants in the area.

"We do a lot of fun and interesting food," Holland said. "We give the middle finger to fine dining by doing it in a fun casual way. The menu changes all the time. We offer fun flavor combos that you won't get anywhere else."

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