OPRF grad is next Food Network Star

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By Megan Dooley

Staff Reporter

A local boy hit the big time in the world of celebrity culinary arts this week, winning a Food Network competition to become the network's next cooking show star.

Jeff Mauro grew up in River Forest and graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School before he packed his bags and moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. Though that dream never panned out, he eventually found his key to getting behind the camera with cooking.

"As parents, we were quite impressed with his ability to change gears a little and pursue his second love," said Mauro's father, Gus, of his son's decision to enroll in culinary school. Mauro graduated at the top of his class from Kitchen Academy in Hollywood, never missing a day of classes or even racking up a single tardy. Before landing a spot on the show, Mauro worked as a corporate chef for a Chicago mortgage company.

On Sunday night, Mauro won the coveted title of the next Food Network Star. In his casting video and bio for the show, Mauro proclaimed the sandwich to be "the most perfect food in the world."

In keeping with his love of all meals served between sliced bread, Mauro's new show will be called Sandwich King, and will air on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on the Food Network.

Reader Comments

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Aware from Oak Park  

Posted: August 20th, 2011 1:10 PM

Joe B from OP , it's egregious to talent. She meant in front but didn't know. She took a guess. If she gets into big time reporting, she'll need to be correct. She's learning at this stage and it's helpful to her..... Spanky The Dog from River Forest, I don't read Megan's stories because she is a nice girl. Jeff is in front of the WJ photograhers camera..... Ryan from Oak Park , yes..... Luke ScottWalker from Oak Park, goes without saying, I'm from Oak Park. May the power be with you.

Sandra Pointon from Crest Hill  

Posted: August 20th, 2011 9:53 AM

I was rooting for Jeff all the way! He seems like such a genuine, nice guy. It's great to see the Midwest represented in a east and west coast biased media.

Iris Evans from Calgary Alberta   

Posted: August 18th, 2011 7:47 AM

Yeah Jeff, we were hoping for you, Congratulations, and GOOD LUCK with your show we will be watching you.

Luke ScottWalker from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 5:58 PM

Way to go Jeff...it looks like a great show. Excellent article as usual, Megan. You're a fine young reporter and do a great job. Aware from Oak Park, you are an elitist windbag who clearly watches way too much MSNBC. Figure out a way to get happy, will you?

Ryan from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 4:59 PM

Aware from Oak Park, What is that thing at the beginning of your post? Was that supposed to be a sentence?

Spanky The Dog from River Forest  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 4:56 PM

Aware from OP- Megan is a nice girl and she is correct but perhaps you are basing your comment on the photo of Jeff facing the lens in the WJ photo. Now, if the camera is behind Jeff when he is scramblin dem dar eggs doesn't that mean he is "behind the camera". I think Jeff really practiced his cooking skills on his good ole dad Gus. Gus had bricks put in his driveway and it wasn't for appearances.It was b/c of his robust shape.Gus my owner walks me in front of your house and coached ur daughter

Joe B from OP  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 4:26 PM

Aware from OP... really? You really needed to call that out? Maybe send her a private message next time. It wasn't an egregious error.

Kathleen Wrobel from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 4:11 PM

From Day One, Jeff was engaging, funny, skilled ... and humble. I didn't know about his ties to River Forest or OPRF. He was always identified as 'Chicago'. His show is this coming Sunday (8/21). His family and friends must be very pleased for him. I don't know him.... but I'm very pleased for the Sandwich Guy.


Posted: August 16th, 2011 4:06 PM

Graduated high school with Jeff, he was always very funny and its good that he could take that humor to keep a positive outlook throughout the whole competition. This, as well as his amazing cooking abilities were celebrated in the end by choosing him as the winner and giving him a new show. Good to see the real winner get a chance to shine!!

Aware from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 3:58 PM

Megan Dooley, I know you are just learning and importance of working at a job for younger people isn't as important as the pay check, but try to pay attention with important details. He is in front of the camera, not behind it. Ask your photographer what part of the camera is the front part. You have all of the resources you needed for this story. Use them.


Posted: August 16th, 2011 3:50 PM

Cool! I knew he was from Elmwood Park but I didn't know he was from OPRFHS. He deserved to win.

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