This Westchester Resident Stars on a Food Network Show

All Photos Courtesy of Stephen J Mihalchik

Wendy Pregiato, a home cook and Eastchester resident, found herself competing on the Food Network show Outchef’d.

The day Wendy Pregiato arrived on set to film an audition reel for a Food Network show, she had no idea that the competition was quite literally in arm’s reach. The host informed Pregiato that instead of filming an audition reel she would be facing off against a culinary star right then and there.

Pregiato is an Eastchester resident whose love for home-cooking earned her a spot on the Food Network show Outchef’d. This was the moment that she knew would make her years of experience in the kitchen worth it. And, this time she wasn’t cooking for her family on a slow Monday evening, but for America and, more specifically, the judges.

Outchef’d is Food Network’s newest cooking show hosted by Eddie Jackson, the winner of Food Network Star Season 11 and a former NFL player. At the beginning of the show, Jackson reveals to the home cooks that they will be going head-to-head in a cookoff with a culinary star for the chance to win $5,000. Imagine the shock.

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Wendy Pregiato cooking in her home.

“I’m a home chef. That means I cook in my home, I know where my spatula and knife are, I know how to turn my oven on,” Pregiato explains of the challenges of not only cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen, but one with an audience. As she details, during the show, each contestant is given a singular ingredient that will become the center of their dish. They have no notion of what it is beforehand, which adds to the need for participants to think and act quickly.

When asked if she was hesitant to participate after the opportunity was presented to her, Pregiato responded, “We spent so many years being sad about stuff we couldn’t do (because of COVID), and missing all of these great milestones, I figured, ‘What do you have to lose? I’m just going to say yes.’”

Each episode features a fiery competition between a home cook and one world-class chef. Once the buzzer rings and their knives are placed on the counter, their singular dishes will be judged by the panel. The home cooks only need one vote from the panel to go home with the prize money. Will they be too ill-prepared for the challenge or has their time in the kitchen prepared them for this moment?

“To me it didn’t matter if I won or lost; the fact that I did it was such a cool thing,” says Pregiato.

The show premiered on September 27, and Pregiato’s episode will air on October 11 at 10 p.m. You can watch as she competes against Marc Murphy, who was previously a judge on Chopped and appeared on other food series including Guy’s Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay, and Worst Cooks in America. Currently he is the executive chef and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants.

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“I love the Food Network. I’ve watched it religiously for many years, and to see what it was actually like was as if I was on an adult roller coaster, a really fun one,” says Pregiato.

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Wendy Pregiato Cooking in her home.

Pregiato first dove into the culinary world while her and her husband lived in London. “I would give my husband a cookbook and say, ‘Pick something,’ and that was my day’s program, to buy ingredients, do research, and make everything,” recalls Pregiato.

After her time on the show, Pregiato returned home with the story of a lifetime and yet another culinary experience under her belt. “It’s easy to take a bunch of stuff out of the refrigerator that are leftovers and throw them all together, but I think you really have to think ahead to what you’re trying to create and what you’re trying to do, and I did come away with a greater sense of cooking with purpose,” shares Pregiato.

 

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Tune in to watch Pregiato’s episode on October 11 on Food Network. 

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