Champion Chef Inspires Hope

Chef Eric

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American Cancer Society to Honor Chef Eric LeVine – “Chopped” champion and five time cancer survivor – at Taste of Hope Event

Brooklyn, NY (April 22, 2011) - Chef Eric LeVine has many identities.  He’s the champion of the Food Network’s hit show “Chopped”.  He’s the newly appointed Executive Chef of Montammy Golf Club in New Jersey.  He’s the author of a cookbook, a loving father of two, a cancer survivor… five times over. And now an honoree of the American Cancer Society at its annual Taste of Hope event.

Eric has been battling cancer on and off for ten years. Through it all he has never given up hope and continues to grow as a culinary star.

“I live each day to do what I love. I take care of people. I introduce them to new flavors, new experiences,“ says Eric. “The trick is mind over matter. I don’t have a fear of the unknown anymore. I know what lies ahead, I know I’ll beat this.”

Eric was first diagnosed with chondrosarcoma in July 2000.  At the time he was 31 years old and had two small children at home. In the four years following, his life fell into a pattern: diagnosis, treatment, remission. It was a terrible chain of events. Upon beating chondrosarcoma, he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. After beating the Hodgkins, he was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). After being treated for AML twice, he was finally declared cancer-free in 2003.

His remission lasted a solid seven years. But in August 2010, he received his fifth cancer diagnosis: Richter syndrome. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Eric's battle with cancer was captured in January of this year when he appeared on an episode of the Food Network’s “Chopped”. The episode was filmed just three weeks after he was diagnosed with Richter syndrome and just one day after a grueling chemotherapy treatment.  While fighting off nausea and fatigue, he beat out three contestants in a three-round cooking challenge to win $10,000.  His winning dishes were Thai-inspired steamed mussels with pear and Amarula liqueur compote served over crispy waffles (appetizer), pan roasted ostrich loin served with curry-fried squash blossom with a root-beer schnapps and juniper berry reduction (entrée) and a gummy-worm pistachio butter rice puff nougat with a horn melon puree (dessert).

“Chopped” is a cooking competition, hosted by Ted Allen, in which contestants are required to create a cohesive dish using three to five mystery ingredients in less than 30 minutes. The rounds are divided by appetizer, entrée and dessert, with one chef eliminated each round. In Eric’s words, “On TV it looks easy… once you’re there, it’s a whole different story!”

This March, Eric launched his debut cookbook titled “Stick it, Spoon it, Put it in a Glass”.  The book utilizes a similar concept to “Chopped”, as each section provides readers with three ingredients and three separate hors d’oeuvres recipes utilizing those ingredients.  Recipes are categorized by poultry, meat, seafood, vegetables, cheese, and dessert.

Eric is using his newfound celebrity status to help others battling cancer. He will be an honored participant at the American Cancer Society’s Taste of Hope on May 5, where he will be sampling a tuna tartar avocado mousse with a sesame crisp and signing copies of his debut cookbook.  The following week, he will film an episode of "Chopped Champions”, where he will compete against former “Chopped” winners for $50,000.

Taste of Hope is a culinary, wine and spirits tasting event featuring some of New York's most popular restaurants and vendors. Proceeds from Taste of Hope will help the American Cancer Society in its mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit community.acsevents.org/tasteofhopeny.

Additional Resources:
American Cancer Society Taste of Hope
Nutrition Guide for People with Cancer
“Stick it, Spoon it, Put it in a Glass” by Chef Eric LeVine

Note to Media: To schedule an interview or a cooking segment with Chef Eric Levine, please contact Ashley Engelman at 212-492-8403 or Ashley.Engelman@cancer.org.
Chef Eric specializes in what he calls “kick-ass global cuisine”.  Dish options for an in-studio cooking segment include:
·    Lemon cilantro orzo with grilled chicken and tomato salad.
·    Lemon grilled and chilled shrimp with jicama slaw and lemon vinaigrette served with appleade shot.
·    Wild berries with lemon mint honey yogurt, blackberry juice.

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About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.