Great American Warrior: Alexandra ‘Alex’ Donnadio, decorated LEO, famed chef and veteran advocate

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This Great American Warrior article is brought to you by our partner, philanthropist, and LEO supporter Trudy Jacobson.


Alexandra "Alex" Donnadio has been an avid chef who’s been cooking for her family since childhood. As part of a large Italian family, she practically lived in the kitchen.
However, she considered it more of a passionate hobby and did not pursue a cooking career after graduation. Instead, she pursued law enforcement and has since excelled. Alex is now a hostage negotiator and detective in one of New Jersey’s busiest counties – Essex County.

But cooking was always in her DNA. She even takes pride in her food presentation – something often overlooked by cooking enthusiasts.

But it wasn’t until her significant other nudged her to start posting her cooking on social media. He knew she was doing something special.
Although she was hesitant, she agreed.

“At first, I was kind of against it because being a cop and social media don't really go hand in hand with each other. And I said screw it one day and started posting every time I cooked. Then I started getting invited to events,” Alex told LET in an exclusive interview.

Alex was invited to Texas to cook a whole cow. That’s when she learned that she was a natural with open-fire cooking.
And she fell in love with it.

“When you cook whole animals, there's just something so primal about it that you don't get when you're cooking indoors,” she said.

In fact, she was so good at it that she caught the attention of recruiters from Gordon Ramsey’s Next Level Chef TV series. She was one of the few contestants who didn’t have any formal culinary school experience, and she still did well.

“I wasn't expecting to make it as far as I did, and I made it twelve out of 24 people,” Alex said. “But I'm actually happy with the way that I went out because I didn't leave on a bad dish.”

Veteran Advocate

As Alex’s catering company and social media popularity grew, she began honing in on another passion – supporting the veteran community.

She is currently planning a public BBQ event at a VFW in New Jersey on June 8th. Her goal is to cook food, entertain people, and help veterans.

“The plan is to raise money for veterans and to raise money for 22 Mohawk, which is essentially a suicide prevention program for veterans and helping them get back into society. I think it's so important because, especially in this age, I find that people aren't supporting veterans as much as they used to, or people are just brushing veterans off the rug,” she said.
Supporting the veteran community has been a growing passion of hers in recent years. As a member of law enforcement, Alex has several fellow officers who were or are still in the military. She sees firsthand how military service can affect people.
“I have a lot of friends that are veterans, and recently they've been getting deployed more. And it's the first time in my life that I've seen a lot of my friends gone for months at a time,” Alex said. “And I have a lot of coworkers that have PTSD from being in the war. And I just want to help make them feel like they mean something and make them feel special - and my way of doing that is cooking.”

Alex is committed to her passions: cooking, police work, and helping veterans. And it’s the exact reason why she’s a Great American Warrior!

Follow her on IG @cookingwithzandge_s and subscribe to her YouTube channel, @ChefZandge
To learn all about her catering company, Iron and Oak Catering, go to

To attend the BBQ event on June 8th and meet Alex, go to


Writer Eddie Molina is a veteran and has over 25 years of combined LEO/military service. He owns and operates the apparel company 

For corrections or revisions, click here.
The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
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Me too! Me too! I cooked a whole chicken once. :-)


(Slow news day I guess).


Kudos to her! She is the epitome of an American citizen. May God bless her.


Thank you sister from a retired probation officer!!

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