Bayside Chef Showcases Talents on Television


Manoli Figetakis

Chef Maria Petridis at her restaurant Maria’s Mediterranean Seafood and Grill in Bayside, Queens.

Nine years after opening her own restaurant in Bayside, Queens, Chef Maria Petridis received an unexpected call that would take her career to the next level. It was an opportunity for her to participate on Food Network’s Chopped, where four chefs compete against each other for a chance to win $10,000.

To this day Petridis has no idea how producers scoped her out. However, the call paid off. Chef Petridis won the title of  “Chopped Champion” in an episode that aired on Dec. 27, 2016. Her appearance on the show now has fans stopping by Maria’s Mediterranean Seafood & Grill on a regular basis.

“On Chopped, it was a chance that I took on myself and my cooking,” said Chef Petridis. “When I went there I was very nervous. I was scared because I was competing against other chefs that were trained.”

Petridis was born and raised in Sires, Greece, and migrated to America in 1989. She learned how to speak English by watching cartoons while raising her children. Owning and cooking in her own restaurant was a dream that Chef Petridis had since she was a child. Her husband was supportive of the dream.

“One day my husband came home and told me he is buying a restaurant and that I’m supposed to be the main cook,” said Petridis. “That’s how I started. He told me to start cooking the food that I was cooking for my family all these years.”

Chef Petridis now owns and operates Maria’s Mediterranean Seafood & Grill, which opened on January 10, 2011 and is located in the heart of Bayside, Queens.  Maria’s menu offers grilled meat and seafood, and home style cooked Greek dishes that Maria herself learned to cook in the small village in Greece where she grew up.

“It is top quality food prepared with the most delicious ingredients,” said Jim Karras, a customer at the restaurant. “If you want to taste Greek authentic cuisine this is the place to visit!”

After winning Chopped, Chef Petridis donated her winnings to the Make a Wish Foundation. Petridis picked Make a Wish Foundation because she wanted to help children.

“I have three kids and three grandchildren, if kids are happy then the future seems happy.” said Petridis. “After winning now, I can be involved in many charities and be so happy doing so.”