JERSEY CITY- Hudson Catholic is about to have its very own celebrity chef. Class of 1999 alum Claude Lewis is set to appear on this Tuesday night’s episode of “Chopped.” The reality competition, which has been on the air since 2009, comes with a $10,000 cash prize. Lewis, currently the head chef at the ultra popular Jersey City spot “Porta” has worked his way up from his humble beginnings in the Jersey City Heights.
Chef Claude is used to fighting for attention, so the 2 year plus wait to get on the show was no obstacle. Claude’s older brother, Egan, is a class of 91 graduate and 1,000 point scorer for the Hawks. Egan to this day has a trophy displayed at Hudson Catholic. But Chef Claude worked hard to get where he is today. “To get where I am now, It took a lot of hard work,” he says. “There were a lot of ups, a lot of downs,” he said “I tell my staff all the time- no one can give it to you, they can only put you in place. You have to do it.I kept moving up and moving up until i couldn’t move anymore. I’m a product of hard work- definitely. My hard work got me to where I am.”
After leaving Hudson Catholic, Chef Claude studied French Culinary Arts at Hudson County Community College. After that he moved to Florida for a while before quickly returning to his Jersey City roots. Along the way he earned two degrees and three certificates. Chef Claude is eager for the show to air, but equally excited to be able to give back to his community. “It’s such a blessing because I’m not the type of person who wouldn’t give back,” he said “I’m ecstatic, I’m absolutely happy to be able to bring some notoriety to Jersey City.”
For future Hawks, Chef Claude says you should always cherish the opportunities you are given.
“My dad worked three jobs to put me through this school. He and my mom worked really hard to get me an education,” he said. “The fact that they (current students) get to go to this school means a lot more than just getting a chance to go to school. When I walk around anywhere in Jersey CIty and people find out that I am a Hawk, I have people who would normally not talk to me hug me and call me Hawk brother. These are bonds that last forever.”
On Tuesday night, we will all be rooting for our Hawk Brother.
Watch “Chopped” Tuesday Nights at 9PM EST on the Food Network. Check local listings for additional information.