Cooper competes for Favorite Chef title

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A local man has been accepted for the Favorite Chef competition run by celebrity chef Carla Hall and needs votes from the community.

Troy Cooper is well known and recognized by his colorful glasses as a former butcher’s assistant at the Bennett’s Creek Farm Market before its closure in February. He also is a former full-time graphic designer and columnist at the Suffolk News-Herald, where he frequently wrote about food, family and his fight against Type 2 diabetes. He continues to freelance as the designer for Suffolk Living Magazine as well as several other sister newspapers and magazines in the Boone Newsmedia family.

Cooper is competing for the title of Favorite Chef, which will earn the winner $25,000, a two-page feature in Taste of Home Magazine and a cooking experience with Carla Hall.

Email newsletter signup

Cooper attributes his love of cooking to the legacy of his parents.

“My parents inadvertently gave me a passion for cooking,” Cooper said. “My father was a cook in the Army in Vietnam, and my mother was a foodie before being a foodie was a thing. They both made sure that food equals love in the things they served and the standards they set for the foods they ate. Every time I cook something, I think of them. There’s always a saying or thought from either of them in my head whenever I’m in the kitchen.”

Voting takes place at Each person can vote once per day for free with a Facebook account. Additional votes can be purchased with donations to the James Beard Foundation, which helps promote a more sustainable and equitable future in the restaurant industry.

The first round of voting ends June 22, by which time Cooper will need to be in the top 20 in his group of more than 80 competitors to advance.