San Antonio Chef wins Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ with hot dog quesadillas

Chef Kirk took home the top prize of $10,000

Chef Kirk (Jackie Lee Young, KSAT 12)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio has its first winner in a Food Network contest.

Chef Kirk, whose real name is Jesse Kuykendall, won season 47 episode 13 of “Chopped” on the Food Network.

Four professional chefs competed in a three-round challenge where baskets of mystery ingredients were turned into a three-course meal. This episode’s competition was themed “PB and J,” according to a press release.

Kuykendall used the peanut-butter-and-jelly-themed mystery ingredients to churn out a three-course meal that included hot dog quesadillas, 30-minute mole, and peanut butter churros.

The Laredo native works as a professional chef at Hotel Havana in downtown San Antonio, having joined the hotel restaurant’s Ocho team as an executive chef in February 2019.

Kuykendall has said her mother taught her to cook traditional Mexican dishes inspired by her family’s heritage. Kuykendall and her mother also helped to cater family events for their neighbors when Kuykendall was in high school. She enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in 2013.

An article from the San Antonio Current states that Kuykendall is the first local chef to win the top prize on “Chopped.”

This was Kuykendall’s first competitive cooking competition.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.