BRIDGEWATER, NJ - He would time himself whenever he watched the show, giving himself 10 seconds to come up with the dish he would create out of the odd ingredients thrown at chefs through each round of the Food Network show “Chopped” — and that advance practice paid off when Bridgewater-Raritan High School graduate Dave Hadley had his chance to compete.

Hadley was one of four chefs competing on a recent episode of the hit show, and he took home the $10,000 prize after out-cooking his three competitors.

“I love that show, and I’ve always been asked if I would ever be able to do that,” he said. “I always said no because I felt I wasn’t confident in myself.”

“I learned from the show that I can be confident in my food,” he added. “It just taught me to be a better me and not be scared of what people think and how people perceive me.”