CHICAGO, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Sister Alicia Torres, 30, developed her culinary skills by operating a mobile food pantry as a member of Chicago's Our Lady of the Angels Mission.
She put them to good work as she was declared champion on the Food Network competitive cooking show Chopped, winning $10,000 for the mission.
Torres competed against other volunteer chefs in the show's "Thanksgiving Soup-er Stars" special, which had contestants prepare meals using items traditionally found at a Thanksgiving dinner.
Her dishes, including quesadillas made from Thanksgiving leftovers and a Mediterranean turkey curry, were so impressive that judges suggested she must have had some kind of culinary training.
Before the episode aired, Father Bob Lombardo of Our Lady of Angels attributed the tastiness of Torres' dishes to a certain secret ingredient.
"I think when you put in that amount of time and that famous secret ingredient, love, you put out a really good meal that people will enjoy," he told Chicago's WGN.
While the $10,000 prize will be a great help for Our Lady of the Angels, Torres hopes that her victory will provide a lasting impact by raising awareness of world hunger.
"Perhaps being on national TV and winning this competition will bring some attention to the issue of hunger," she told the Chicago Tribune.
Torres said she has no plans to pursue her own cooking show.