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  • Writer's pictureAriana Zajac

My 2023.

Reflecting on an incredible year filled with cooking, eating, love and opportunities! 🌟 With my journey on Chopped Jr. in 2019, I can’t believe how far I have come as a person and chef, now running NYCTeenChef and co-owning Hamptons Hound, this year has been a feast of experiences. 🍽️✨

These past two summers, I have been lucky enough to accompany the Paul Chester Children’s Hope Foundation on two trips to Morocco, where we supported orphanages and provided vital surgeries. I am also grateful to be the president of the Next Generation Board and being a part of growing the organization into the future. In Morocco, we attended many traditional dinners with a ton of courses, truly showcasing their amazing culture and traditions. 🇲🇦✈️

I am so gateful for the opportunity to travel the world, tasting diverse cuisines, and learning from incredible chefs. From cooking alongside Lionel, a chef in Jamaica, to absorbing techniques from various restaurants, every experience has enriched my culinary journey. 🌎👩‍🍳

This year has further taught me that food is a universal language, a way to communicate, bond, and spread love. It never hurts to ask for recipes, opportunities, or anything you’re passionate about—this year’s adventures are a testament to that. 🙌✨

Family and friends gathered in the kitchen, turning moments into memories. Cooking and eating became a celebration of love, culture, and the privilege of sharing meals. 🥂🍲 Thankful for the journey, the flavors, the lessons, and the love. Cheers to a year that filled my heart and plate! 🎉🍾

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