There is a lot of people who fall under the assumption that I got into cooking for fame and that is not the case. I started cooking professionally in the mid-’90s before the whole celebrity chef thing. I got into cooking from the request of my father, who is a chef and restauranteur, now retired. During culinary school I found myself submerged in all things culinary and almost got kicked out of school because I didn’t see eye to eye with one of my
In 2014, I competed on the Food Network show, Chopped and made it to the final round and lost by a point to have the Chopped Champion title. I didn’t realize how much exposure I got from competing on the show. I was receiving e-mails and phone calls from strangers who watched the show. The majority of the e-mails I got were from people who went through health complications in their life and knowing that I went through stage 3 colon cancer and survived from it. I guess it gave these people hope and motivation for what they were dealing with at the time. I cried at some of the emails I read from people, they were heartfelt an emotion that I never felt before and I told myself always follow this positive path I’m on. And the whole reason why I competed on Chopped was to see how far I would go because the show was base on your culinary experience, knowledge, and creativity.
At the end I got into cooking because it was a trade I can survive on and its my passion, and my craft. Cooking open a lot of doors for me, I got to meet interesting people in my career who shaped me and made me what I am today. I got to travel and experience new culture and food from different parts of the world. Cooking gave me structure and direction.