PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Germantown woman who recently won a popular cooking show got her start in a North Philadelphia training program.
Kristol Bryant used her culinary skills to transform a hot dog pie, daikon radish, coriander chutney and cornbread muffins into a delectable delight in just 20 minutes.
“I made hot dog wontons, coriander chutney yogurt and pickled daikon with cornbread croutons,” she said.
After the third round of impressing the judges, she won “Chopped”, a popular show on Food Network that gives cooking pros a basket of weird ingredients and 20 minutes to turn them into culinary delights.
“I just put my head down,” said Bryant, “I was just so thankful and I started to cry.”
The moment was humbling because Bryant started her career mired in struggle.
“I had two kids by the age of 19,” she said. “I was on welfare, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do. Then OIC, I got a pamphlet in the mail and OIC was just a life saver.”
Located on North Broad Street, Philadelphia OIC was founded by the late Rev. Leon Sullivan to train young people for jobs in many industries.
Bryant enrolled in a six-week culinary program in the late 90s and got an externship with master chef Philippe Shin. Later, she got the opportunity to work with renowned pastry chef Michael VanderGeest and eventually ended up at La Qua in Rittenhouse Square.
After a number of other prestigious jobs and years of hard work, she landed a job as the executive chef at Sonesta Hotel.
“Know that it doesn’t rain all the time,” she said of her early struggles. “But without the rain, you can’t grow the flowers.”
Now, Bryant is off to her latest venture — K.1893, her own in-home catering business.
“I tell my kids: the only limits is yourself,” she added.