The Truth About Leia Gaccione From Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets

Leia Gaccione's 15 fellow competitors on "Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets" had better be ready. The New Jersey-based chef's degree from the New York Restaurant School, awards for her acclaimed restaurants, and years of culinary experience both on- and off-screen have prepared her for whatever stupefying mystery ingredients await on the five-part tournament series. Watch Gaccione and her competitors tackle "shockers" of baskets when her episode of the show airs on July 6 on Food Network.

New Jersey diners may know Gaccione for her two restaurants, south+pine in Morristown and Central+Main in Madison, according to Patch. She owns and works as the head chef at both eateries, which serve seasonal American dishes in a neighborhood setting. Others may have seen her as the host of the documentary "Her Name Is Chef," which explores how six women — with the odds stacked against them — rose through the ranks of the male-dominated restaurant industry to become chefs. Here's what you need to know about this formidable competitor.

Leia Gaccione is no stranger to the Food Network or its stars

Leia Gaccione is tight with one of Food Network's most famous stars, chef Bobby Flay. According to Patch, she spent seven years working as Flay's executive chef and chef de cuisine at five of his (now closed) New York City restaurants, including Mediterranean eatery Gato, bistro-style Bar Americain, and signature Southwestern spot Mesa Grill.

In fact, "Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets" won't be Gaccione's first time competing on a Food Network show, either. She appeared as Flay's sous chef in three episodes of "Iron Chef America" in Seasons 10 and 11, according to her website, and even went on to battle against her mentor in two episodes of "Beat Bobby Flay." Flay won both, Kaggle reports, but Gaccione's grit still counts. After so many years working alongside and against Flay, who has one of the highest "Iron Chef" win percentages of all time (via The Recipe), Gaccione is sure to bring an acute sense of competitive spirit to "Chopped."