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Central Iowan Wins on ‘Chopped’

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Adam Kenworthy won a recent episode of the Food Network’s show, ‘Chopped.’ He is originally from Des Moines.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Central Iowa native is getting national recognition for his culinary creations.

Adam Kenworthy, or "Chef Adam," as he is known by his thousands of social media followers, grew up in Des Moines. But his efforts to become a top chef didn't begin until about five years ago.

"You know, it started with my passion for athletics, and you know, moved into eating clean and educating myself on nutrition," he said. "And then really, things picked up, and became part of the New York City hustle, where you do whatever you've got to do to survive. So, I knew that I was great at cooking, so I started doing it on the side."

But that side-job is now Kenworthy's full-time gig. In fact, it earned him a first place finish in a recent episode of The Food Network's hit show, "Chopped." While most contestants on the show apply, Kenworthy was recruited for it.

"Chopped actually reached out to me - so I was a little surprised on that end," he said.

It's a full-circle moment for Kenworthy and his dad; just last May, the two were in local news for a plane crash that caused Kenworthy's father, Dave, to sustain critical injuries. Thankfully, a surgery got him back on his feet, and months later, allowed him to see his son compete and win on a national television show.

"When he told us that he was going to be a contestant on it, we were just really excited," Dave Kenworthy said.

"When I left Des Moines, I drove very early to see my dad, and he was in the hospital bed, prior to his surgery," Adam Kenworthy said. "And I was like, 'Dad look, I'm good. You know, we survived, and not only did we survive, but I'm not injured badly. I'm flying back to New York, I have to go back because of Chopped,' but I said, 'I'm going to win it for you.'"

And he did just that; now, his dad just has to figure out how to get him to bring that fine dining back to Central Iowa.

"Des Moines has really flourished in a number of ways that, it's very enticing for him to come back," Dave Kenworthy said.

While Chef Adam has a busy 2017 lined up in the Big Apple, he admits he has some dreams back in the Heartland, too.

"There's a lot of cool, like lofty places - and coming from New York, it's so expensive, and to see these super cool spaces kind of emerging in downtown," he said. "I could definitely see myself trying to open up something eventually."