Season 4: Jeffrey Vaden
Where are you living/working now?
I'm living in White Plains, N.Y., and I still own Soul Luxe Caterers here in Westchester, N.Y.
What have you been up to since FNS?
I don't know about the other alums, but this "still wannabe" is still hustling in the food industry. :)
In addition to the catering, I consult for two daycare centers (menu development, nutrition), and perhaps the most fun I have is educating the middle school children here in the city of White Plains, N.Y., on culinary arts. Twice a week I teach cooking classes to the students. The themes range from Asian cuisine to comfort foods. The theme for the current cycle is "healthy options," as I want to do my small part in fighting childhood obesity. I'm researching sustainable foods for an upcoming cycle. I think I'll call it "green eats" or "green foods" — you always need a hook with the kids.
What did you enjoy most (and least) about being on FNS?
I most enjoyed meeting and getting to know the other finalists. I never felt comfy in NYC without my ID!
Do you still keep in touch with other finalists?
I still keep in touch with some finalists, and I still have a lot of love for all of them.
How did being on FNS affect your culinary career?
It was yet another awesome experience afforded me by choosing this career.
What advice would you offer the next round of finalists?
Be careful what you wish for and be true to yourself.
Are you recognized from your time on FNS?
Yes, all the time.
What was the greatest lesson you learned from your time on FNS?
You can have all the education, personality, wit and charisma in the world, but if you are not what they are looking for, you must accept that too.
Thanks for the wonderful opportunity! Much love to Food Network.