Ohio resident proposes new food show

Chris Kallio

Cuyahoga Falls resident Jenn Thomas is preparing to propose a pilot for the Food Network.

Her food/entertainment path started when she appeared on Rachael Ray’s program “So You Think You Can Cook?”

“There were five of us that were picked in the entire United States,” Thomas said. “We made the audition tape on a whim. It wasn’t like those ‘American Idol’ shows where the kids go home crying. It was really unexpected.”

Filming in New York City was quite an experience as well.

“I was like a little kid on Christmas morning, and you get everything you want,” she said. “It really didn’t hit until after I won – that’s when it got really crazy.”

Her success on the show allowed Thomas to film a segment in which she cooked with Ray (a section about Thomas’ time on the show is available on Rachael Ray’s Web site), as well as include a recipe in the current issue of Ray’s magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray and a workshop at the Culinary Institute of America, one of the leading culinary colleges in the country.

“Then the question was what am I going to do? What’s the next step?”

Since the program, she has appeared in local television and radio shows and has done numerous demonstrations of cooking, sometimes 10 a week.

Because there wasn’t a cash prize for Ray’s show, Thomas returned to Ohio after the filming and found that she was a month behind financially.

“When Christmas came around, my hours at work were cut back,” she said. “I was out of a lot of money. So I had to move home.”

Thomas described how she felt that her employer was exploiting her newfound celebrity status. When Thomas stopped mentioning the bar in public appearances, her hours were cut.

“They literally did that to me – they were mad because I wasn’t giving them more publicity,” she said. “I felt like I took eight steps back, but my career has potential to jump a mile forward. I feel like I’m on the break of something huge.”

Most of her cooking career time is dedicated toward her pilot for the Food Network. “We’re looking for multimedia students to help us shoot this.” If any are interested, they can visit her Web site www.jenncancook.com.

“We’ve pre-selected five people we want to be in it,” Thomas said of the pilot. “On any given day, I will surprise them with cameras.”

Thomas explained that the show will be most beneficial to college students and young parents.

“The idea is that they can cook something out of nothing on a zero budget.”

Contact all reporter Chris Kallio at [email protected].