ATLANTIC CITY — Chef Deborah Pellegrino, executive pastry chef at Harrah’s Resort and Showboat (and a 1991 graduate of Atlantic Cape Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts), can be seen in a high-stakes competition on the TV series Food Network Challenge this Sunday, July 17, at 8pm. Chef Pellegrino will join three talented pastry chefs from across the nation for a “Chocolate Myths” challenge, where they will be tasked with modeling a chocolate creation after a mythical creature — and then bringing it to life. The winner earns $10,000.
Chef Pellegrino tells AC Weekly how she earned a spot on the Challenge: “You have to be recommended to get onto Challenge by someone who has already competed or that has been involved with the Food Network. Then you have to make a video of yourself and post it on YouTube. If they like your video then you get contacted to do another video and phone interview. After that process, you are pitched to a producer to possibly get cast for a challenge. It took me about a year of being relentless and sending in photos of my work and I finally got contacted.”
She adds that the actual Challenge is, “Intense, grueling, exciting and exhausting all at the same time. You need to be on your game before you even get there to compete. I always get a bit nervous and excited prior to competing as I want to do the best that I can.”
Being in an intense competition is nothing new for Pellegrino, who took home first place finishes at Cocoa Noel in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Candy and Chocolate Show.
She will also participate in the Food Network sponsored Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival later this month, offering up her award-winning desserts at the Sweet & Stylish event hosted by Sunny Anderson. “I am looking forward to the Food and Wine Festival coming up July 28-31,” she says. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of an event of this magnitude. The support Showboat has given me in doing Food Network Challenge and the opportunity to be a part of the special events at the Food & Wine Festival is just amazing.”
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