LU grad student Brian Colvin competes on Food Network show ‘Chopped,’ wins it all

Some people sit and let life simmer, while others take life at a boil. Sergeant 1st Class Brian Colvin, an online graduate student, has spent his life pursuing knowledge and experience while serving others, which led to him winning the Food Network show “Chopped.” 

The will to serve stirred in Colvin after seeing the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City while he was still in high school. However, life led him to enter college as a music education major, but after feeling he was not ready for college, he decided to join the National Guard in 2004, then later transition into active duty. 

“I fell in love with the Army lifestyle,” Colvin said. “It was fun to learn. I love learning and though some say it is a lifelong process, it’s also fun to build that repertoire of knowledge.”

Colvin soon found himself working as an Army medic. Once he was deployed to Iraq, he saw his acts of service impact those around him.

“There were no medical resources there,” Colvin said. “No one even had a Band-Aid if someone needed it, and so I tried my best to take care of everyone I could. I knew I was making a difference.” 

Colvin was first denied as a flight medic due to an injury he sustained in Iraq but his medical experience led him to then become an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Specialist (EOD) or bomb tech. 

Little did he know accepting this role would soon lead him in a very different direction, one of cooking rather than combat. 

“We get a lot of random emails from the Army, and I got one to try out for culinary school,” Colvin said. “At the time I could barely fry an egg, but I did (try out).”

Colvin started out going through the basic culinary curriculum where he learned the foundational skills. Upon passing basic culinary school, Colvin started advanced culinary school where he learned advanced French cuisine, cake decorating and how to make sushi. He finished as an honor graduate.

Colvin would get another random email after completing culinary school, but this time, it was for the opportunity to become a contestant on “Chopped.”

“I decided not to do it at first. I had only been cooking professionally for about six to seven months,” Colvin said. “But my wife said yes, and I ended up trying out.”

Once selected, Colvin had the opportunity to compete for the charity Blue Star Family, but also to promote another charity he is involved in called After the Long Walk.

According to Colvin, the name “After the Long Walk” is derived from the process of walking to the bomb after suiting up as a bomb tech. 

“As you’re walking, everything is calm and collected. But after the walk, going over the details is when the stress starts to build up,” Colvin said. “I’ve lost several friends to suicide and many people I know have lost someone, too.”

Competing on “Chopped” was a way for Colvin to promote pride and honor for those in this army occupation. 

“It’s not about me. It’s about getting people information they need to see the Army in a different light,” Colvin said. 

Going into the show, Colvin was not expecting to win it all. At one point in the competition, he even decided to help a fellow friend and competitor who was struggling with one of their cooking challenges. 

Through each challenge and episode, Colvin continued to push through, eventually winning it all at the conclusion of the show.

“It is still very surreal to me. I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ But it was a completion of a cycle for me. I did it,” Colvin said. “It’s what I could do for my friends, family and fellow (bomb techs). I couldn’t think of a better (reason to) win ‘Chopped.’”

Pace is the assistant feature editor for the Liberty Champion

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