Who is Tineke Younger from Next Level Chef? TikTok chef found her passion for cooking during her sophomore year


Next Level Chef is all set to return with a brand new season on FOX this Sunday, February 12, featuring 18 contestants.

One of the participants is Tineke Younger, who found her way into the culinary world during her sophomore year in school. The 21-year-old is a social media/TikTok chef who is all set to compete for the $250,000 grand prize money.

Next Level Chef 2023 will feature three mentor chefs — Gordon Ramsey, Nyesha Arrington, and Richard Blais. As per the show’s format, each mentor will take six contestants under his/her wings. Tineke is part of Richard’s team.

Tineke explains how she fell in love with cooking

Originally hailing from Frederick, Maryland, Tineke Younger currently lives in Evans, Georgia. Her first interaction with the culinary world happened when she visited the Frederick County Public Schools Career and Technology Center in her sophomore year.

During this time, Tineke was struggling with bad grades and trying to find a passion to feel motivated. However, her visit to the center to look for a cosmetology school didn’t give her the motivation she was looking for until she smelled food.

Speaking about the same to The Frederick News-Post, the young chef said:

“I absolutely hated it. I was like, ‘This is not for me,’ and on my way out, I smelled the food down the hallway.”

She inquired about the culinary program and later returned to the same school to apply for her newly-found passion.

Tineke explained:

“Everything changed. I had been getting Ds and Fs. I even got a D in PE. I wasn’t applying myself. I didn’t care about school. As soon as I found out that I was actually good at cooking and it was something I liked, my grades turned around.”

She added:

“My behavior also turned around, because I wasn’t the best kid. I was getting in trouble and [sent to] the principal’s office. But my behavior turned for the good, because I found my passion.”

While Tineke was pursuing culinary training at the Frederick Community College Monroe Center: Hospitality, Culinary & Tourism Institute and also working at a restaurant, she decided to revamp her TikTok profile by posting her cooked food in 2021.

She said:

“I thought it would just be fun, so I recorded it and posted it [on TikTok] the next day. It was 14 million views and I had gained 300,000 followers. It blew up over Twitter, over Instagram, over Snapchat. It was insane. Celebrities were reaching out.”

One of her posts where she made a fried chicken sandwich crossed 25 million views. When her followers reached 27,000, the producers of the FOX show, Next Level Chef, reached out to her. She soon became one of the contestants and a member of Richard Blais’ team.

Next Level Chef season 2 release date

Next Level Chef season 2 is all set to air on Sunday, February 12, 2023, at 8:00 pm ET on FOX. The new season will stream right after the Super Bowl 2023 premiere.

In addition to Tineke, Team Richard also includes Christopher Spinosa (29), Darryl Taylor (52), Kamahlai Stewart (41), Matt Groark (44), and Mehreen Karim (27).

Team Gordon’s members are Cassie Yeung (28), Mark McMillian (52), Michelle Calcagni (30), Preston Nguyen (19), Tucker Ricchio (31), and Vincent “Vinny” Alia (42).

Team Nyesha’s contestants include Alex Morizio (48), April Clayton (39), Nuri Muhammad (22), Omallys “Omi” Hopper (39), Pilar Omega (38), and Shay Spence (32).

Next Level Chef season 1 winner was Pyet DeSpain, who might make an appearance in the second season.

The FOX show will air a new episode every Sunday at 8:00 pm ET.

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