In NBC's newest reality competition, Food Fighters, professional chefs compete against home cooks. It's a spin on the usual cooking show that looks to answer once and for all which dishes are better homemade, and which need the expertise of a trained chef to perfect. One of the standout home chefs is the incredibly cool Elisha Joyce, whose vegetable-rich, bright and colorful food is a little bit reminiscent of Top Chef runner up Nina Compton. It goes without saying that Joyce is an amazing cook, however she's also a devoted health food addict and advocate for natural living, since she grew up in tropical Guam and now lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest. So Joyce is used to the healthy, active lifestyle in both areas.
Here's a few quick facts that will catch you up on Joyce's background and will make you root for her in her first Food Fighters battle against culinary school instructor Kevin Belton.
She's Religious, But Truly Devoted to Health
Joyce is a devout Christian, and seems to get true happiness from her beliefs. And she uses her faith as a way to inspire herself to stay healthy and in good shape. No matter what, she can always find a positive, life-affirming spin. That's admirable.
She's OBSESSED with Quinoa
Her personal website is devoted to sharing exclusively quinoa recipes. She's even written a quinoa-themed e-book filled with even more recipes. Turns out you can add quinoa to just about everything, even breakfast. Or desserts. And once you start, it seems impossible to stop.
She Grew Up In Guam
While Joyce's upbringing wasn't always easy, she looks back fondly on her time living in Guam with her parents and grandmother. Even though they didn't always have access to running water or electricity, and lived in a small tin house, she considers it the "the most memorable time of [her] life." Her grandmother was the cook for the entire family, and made dishes influenced by Latin, Asian, and Caribbean flavors that tied in Guam's plentiful produce. Many of Joyce's dishes are adaptions of her childhood favorites.
Her Dad Was a Body Builder
Joyce's father was a Guam local celebrity and a successful bodybuilder. She uploaded this pic from 1976, which is evident from his righteous fro. Obviously Joyce's health-crazy outlook runs in the family. He even wrote a health book!
She Designed and Sold A Product
Joyce developed and sold SmartyBars, a granola bar alternative that comes in small, bite sized portions. They're gluten-free and full of whole foods and protein — and yep, they include quinoa.
Her Family Is Adorable!
Joyce posted this picture of her kids and former bodybuilder dad in celebration of his birthday. And Joyce's kids are following in their mom's footsteps. Just a few months ago, she posted an Instagram of some macarons baked from scratch by her teenage daughter.
She's Cooked on TV Before
While Joyce has never been on Top Chef or worked as a head chef in her own restaurant, she's obviously an experienced cook who knows a lot more about food than just making dinner every night. In fact, she's appeared on a local news station, AM Northwest. Being on NBC shouldn't faze her.
Actually, many of her fellow home cooks are just as skilled and practiced as Joyce is. The home cooks are just as stacked as the professional chefs. Rooting for anyone on Food Fighters will be easy, because their food looks delicious, but it'll be extra satisfying if Elisha and a few of her fellow home cooks can come out on top.
Image: Eddy Chen/NBC (2); Elisha Joyce/Instagram (4)