UAlbany grad appears on Food Network cooking competition show

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local man who calls himself a self-taught cook is now shining bright on a nationally televised cooking show.

“You just know you’re against the best, and that makes you feel the best,” Jermaine Wright said. “When you go against good competition, you’re like, ‘Alright cool. We know why we’re here.’”

Wright is a contestant on the second season of All-Star Academy on the Food Network. On Friday, he whipped up a batch of his signature dish – Five Cheese Mac ‘n Please with bacon – at NEWS10.

Wright chose Chef Robert Irvine to be his coach, who is known to be fiery and passionate. Wright said the amount of emotion coming from Irvine on television is authentic.

“They don’t show this – they left this part out – but I’m actually the person every second that’s like, “Time! Time!’” because I know it’s real,” he said. “There’s so many steps you have to do to elevate the dishes of the home cooks.”

When he’s not cheffing it up in the kitchen, Wright said he loves to dance. He believes his creative edge on the show comes from combing both of his passions.

“I think there’s the same amount of discipline that you have to have for both,” he said. “The same amount of creativity that you have to have for both and the same passion. I think it comes very well that way.”

Wright said that it would be great to win the show, but if nothing else, he wants to use his new platform to motivate watchers.

“I’m trying to pursue my dreams and let everybody know that if I’m doing this at 25, then you can do this at 18,” he said. “You can be better than I am. Really, all I want to do is inspire.”

If you want to watch Wright on the All-Star Academy, it airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on Food Network. Wright said he’s the cliffhanger for the second episode.

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