Despite coming up just short in her quest to become the Next Food Network Star, Turlock native Susie Jimenez has earned a TV contract on a different network.
Jiminez will soon premiere in her new television cooking show, Sabores de Familia, on Utilisima, a Spanish Fox Network.
“We showcase amazing dishes that you can make in the comfort of your own home,” said Jimenez. “It is based with women that are chefs and home cooks that are from Chile, Columbia and Mexico.”
Recorded in Spanish, Susie and four other Latin American women co-host and demonstrate easy recipes to make at home with tips and ideas for everyday meals without complications. Recipes Susie demonstrated range from mushroom strudel with lemon prawns to sopa de lima and crab dip with cucumber rounds and hibiscus spritzer. The show will debut on March 11, scheduled for 4:30 pm ET/PT, and will run for 30 episodes.
Utilisima picked up Jimenez after she was a runner-up on Food Network Star Season 7 in 2011.
“I am excited to have gone from Food Network Star Season 7 as a runner-up, showcasing Latin food that was inspired by my family, to Utilisima picking me up and showcasing my dishes to Latinos,” said Jimenez. “It has been an amazing experience to have gone from a child picking cherries, migrating with crops, to being a celebrity chef.”
Jimenez is also currently getting ready to open a restaurant in Houston, Texas called Trenza, which translates into braid. The restaurant features small plates consisting of Latin dishes with an Indian influence, using techniques from all around the world. The restaurant is set to open in April 2013.
“I’m really excited for that transition in my life as well,” said Jimenez.
Many celebrity chefs, including Wolfgang Puck, have praised Jimenez. During the Food Network Star Season 7, Jimenez prepared a Mexican-inspired take on a cheese course that received the highest praise from Wolfgang Puck.
“Of all the dishes, this will stay in my head the most,” said Puck.
On the finale episode, Guy Fieri – a television personality, cookbook author and celebrity chef – said that Susie Jimenez has a lot of positive energy.
“Susie is so excited about the kind of food she does,” said Guy Fieri. “I like her food, I like her energy, I like her smile. I’d want to watch her.”
Aside from her recent successes within the food and cooking industry, Jimenez is also an avid volunteer with various organizations. She is a Shining Stars Foundation Delegate, a mentor for the Roaring Fork Valley Buddy Program, involved with the Make a Wish Foundation, and also recently organized the first annual IMAGINE fundraiser for local children in collaboration with other nonprofits.
After attending Turlock High School, Jimenez attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where she graduated from in 2001.
“During school my father passed away,” said Jimenez. “His passing encouraged me to work hard at my goals, my determination and my work ethic.”
Beginning work as an oyster shucker and stock maker, Jimenez said she quickly learned that you have to work your way up in the food industry.
Jimenez later moved to Aspen, Colo. where she learned under the guidance of Jason Tostrup and Charles Dale, two well-known area chefs. After teaching at the Cooking School of Aspen, Jimenez started her own catering business “Spice It Up” as a caterer and personal chef.
In 2010, Jimenez auditioned for Food Network Star Season 7 and was chosen as one of 15 contestants out of thousands of applicants. She beat out 13 of the 15, falling only to Jeff “The Sandwich King” Mauro on the season finale.
“To make it to runner-up was both a major personal and professional accomplishment,” said Jimenez.
After the show, Jimenez traveled to Argentina to co-host her new show Sabores de Familia.
To learn more about Susie Jimenez, visit her website at www.susiejimenez.com.