ALEXANDRIA, VA — Two chefs from Alexandria restaurants appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped” on Tuesday night, and one pulled off a win.
Chef Chris Edwards of newly opened Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen competed on the Sept. 29 episode titled “Want a Gnocchi Sandwich.” Chopped is a show where chefs must use mystery ingredients to create a three-course meal.
“The whole experience was very intense and the sheer pressure of competing at this level really caught me off guard,” said Edwards in a statement after his win. “The first time that clock started ticking… it was such a surreal moment: my instincts and love of cooking just took over and was left hoping my dish would turn out for the best!”
Mimi Huynh, chef-owner of Vietnamese restaurant Sunday in Saigon, was the other Alexandria chef competing on Tuesday’s episode. Both restaurants hail from North Old Town. Sunday in Saigon opened in 2017, bringing regional cuisines from Vietnam to Alexandria. Hank & Mitzi’s Kitchen is the reimagined Italian concept of Hank’s Pasta Bar opened in August by chef and restaurateur Jamie Leeds.
To celebrate Edwards’ win, Hank & Mitzi’s launched a new menu on Wednesday with lunch portions of their fresh pastas, individual pizzas, and sandwiches. The menu includes Edwards’ re-imagined gnocchi sandwich featured in the entrée round of the “Chopped” episode. His version features potato gnocchi stuffed bread with mozzarella and cotto ham served with Vincenzo sauce,
a rich, chicken fortified marinara sauce.
Edwards oversees Hank & Mitzi’s as executive chef, bringing over 20 years of culinary experience. He helped open Hank’s Oyster Bar at DC’s Wharf and previously worked at the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg and Patowmack Farm restaurant in Lovettsville. The restaurants’ menu covers dinner, weekday lunch, weekend brunch, and weekday happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., while its Mercato offers take-home pastas, sauces, pizza kits, meals and Italian pantry staples and treats.
The “Chopped” episode aired at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, the same time as the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. If you miss the “Chopped” episode, check back for the full episode online.