Home Features BONJ Series NJ Chef Deborah Caplan “Chopped” Her Way into the Culinary World

NJ Chef Deborah Caplan “Chopped” Her Way into the Culinary World

Food. Everybody loves food. Whether we’re at barbecues, fast-food joints, dive bars or just at home in the kitchen, food is irresistible at any time, day or night. But as much as we love a home-cooked meal, it’s hard to beat the dynamic style and exquisite taste many seasoned American chefs bring to the table. One such chef making the collective culinary world salivate is Deborah Caplan, a woman whose name will be familiar to Food Network Fans.

Sous Chef Deborah Caplan of Butter Restaurant, a New Jersey native, has traveled around the country to fulfill her dream in the culinary industry. At 18-years-old, she packed her bags and flew to Miami to attend Johnson & Wales University – North Miami, relish the cosmopolitan culture and network among like-minded individuals in the food business. While she did enjoy the Florida atmosphere, it wasn’t long before Caplan moved back up north.


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During a recent segment of Life & Living with Joanna Gagis, Caplan spoke with Joanna Gagis about her impressive culinary career in which she has done everything from running her own catering business in Miami and working in New York City to winning season 25 of the Food Network’s reality cooking competition show, Chopped.

This video was made possible thanks to Choose: New Jersey.

“My plan was to stay in New York for three months,” said Caplan. But before she could move to Europe, just as she was packing, a tremendous culinary opportunity sprang to life.

“One of the pastry chefs that I worked with [in NYC], Colleen Grapes, is best friends with Alex Guarnaschelli,” said Caplan. “And one day she came in and said, ‘So I talked to Alex about you. And she’s expecting your call.’ And I was maybe a month shy of leaving New York to go on my trip, and I kind of was like, ‘Okay, well we plan; God laughs―he has a plan for us.’ And this opportunity is here, and I don’t know if it’s going to be here when I get back, so I just have to grab it.”

From there, Caplan began an affluent career as a sous chef at Celebrity Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s Butter Restaurant. But Caplan’s hard work and success did not end there; to learn more about Deborah Caplan, her career and her several Chopped appearances, don’t miss this episode of Life & Living with Joanna Gagis.

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This article is sponsored by The Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.