NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Nashville chef won a major Food Network competition and gave back to her fellow Music City restaurateurs in the process.
Maneet Chauhan’s culinary success netted $40,000 to help restaurants struggling through the pandemic.
Chauhan won Food Network’s Tournament of Champions II by out-cooking many talented chefs from across the country.
She collected a nice prize herself, a new SUV and $25,000, but also won $40,000 along the way, which she used to donate to other Nashville restaurants, including Arnold’s Country Kitchen, Mangia Nashville and Margot Café & Bar. She also directed $10,000 to a restaurant in North Carolina owned by a friend who traveled with Maneet as part of the Brown in the South series.
Chauhan won four competitive rounds throughout the competition, each worth $10,000, which Food Network then donated to the restaurants of her choosing.
For Chauhan, in a culturally-diverse food city like Nashville, the decision on who to help was not easy.
“You know, it was really difficult. We were going over discussing what restaurants to choose. And we had a long list right? I think what it came down to was, you know the places that could use the money, the places that support our community support other restaurants becoming stronger,” explained Chauhan.
She said winning the prize money for her friends was the best part.
“You know what? Winning this competition is even more special for me because I think not only have I won it for myself, but I have won this for Nashville and Nashville is home It is such an incredible place.”
Chauhan told News 2 it was an honor to compete and raise money for all of the restaurants.
“It’s so exciting. And this is probably one of the most, this is one of the toughest competitions out there. I’ve competed on a gamut of these. But this is I mean, this puts your entire life’s education work, experience to test. And I think that is what makes it so exciting. And of course, like the fact that like, you’ve defeated like, you’re one of those 16 is like, mind blowing,” said Chauhan.