Front & Center: Air Force service member finds success on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’

Master Sergeant Opal Poullard earned money for charity while on the show

An Air Force Master Sergeant is living out her dream of being a chef and serving her country.

“I joined the military and became a security forces member, which is military police and in addition combat as well, but I always wanted to be a chef,” Master Sgt. Opal Poullard, chef & culinary instructor, said.

Not only did Poullard become a chef, but she also became a winner of the Food Network’s popular cooking show, “Chopped.”

“I feel like my whole life just kind of flashed before me,” Poullard said. “I thought about my whole journey throughout my military career, my journey to becoming a chef, and also the whole experience with the show. I was sitting in front of chefs that I had admired throughout my whole life, not to mention Chef Sonny Anderson, who’s also an Air Force veteran,” Poullard said.

The renowned “Chopped” competition is known for its demanding time constraints and mystery basket ingredients.

Master Sergeant Opal Poullard (37th Training Wing Public Affairs (Greg Walker, Daniel Cruz))

The show pushed Poullard to her limits. But with precision, innovation and unwavering determination, she conquered the last round.

“So, you’re under pressure, nothing is staged, so everything is on the spot, but I believe that all of my military training, all of my culinary training helped me get through that and be able to compete and win the competition,” Poullard said.

Opal’s victory not only brings recognition to her exceptional talent but also shines a spotlight on our military.

This achievement is a testament to the creativity and expertise found right here in our military community.

“Speaking on San Antonio, it was the forefront of my career,” Poullard said. “I love coming back to San Antonio because, of course, it is the heart of the Air Force. This is where we train, this is where we start, this was the beginning of my career. So, coming back has just been very heartful and wholesome to be here, and it’s just, it’s an amazing experience every time I get to touch down in the city.”

Poullard is based out of Fort Gregg-Adams in Virginia, where she is an advanced culinary instructor and is attached to the 37th Training Wing at JBSA-Lackland.

As a winner of “Chopped,” she earned $50,000 for the Blue Star Families Charity Fund.


About the Author:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.