//My first Food Network show debuts April 10th

My first Food Network show debuts April 10th

Forgive me for being sentimental, but it’s not every day a dream comes true.

When I was 24 years old, after years and years of working in restaurants, I signed up for broadcast school. It was a six-week course. On Day 1 I was asked what my dream was and I said I wanted to host a show on Food Network just like Emeril. On my way to school on Day 3, my car was hit by a dump truck.

I woke up from a coma to find that I had 19 broken ribs and a punctured lung. I checked myself out of the hospital as soon as I could stand and finished the last three weeks of school picking broken glass from my scalp and popping Aleve like M&M’s.

In the 12 years that followed, I forgot about TV and became a radio host. I started a career in stand-up comedy. In the process, I moved across state lines seven times. I fell in love. I got married and had a son. I built a beautiful life for myself.

Things got turned upside down, as they sometimes do, and I got divorced. I quit comedy and radio. I left everything I knew to nurse my son back to health from a bout with MRSA. My best friend was murdered in cold blood. I found myself in the darkest depression of my life. I was unemployed. I was a single parent. I was scared to death.

Somewhere in the fog that followed, I remembered my dream. I thought, “It’s too late. I’m too old.” And then the true blessing of hitting rock bottom revealed itself: I had nothing left to lose.

With the encouragement of loved ones I finally started to pursue my dream. I taught myself how to cook competitively and made it to the Top 5 of MasterChef. I started a food blog. I worked in kitchens all over LA. I catered events and taught cooking classes. I developed recipes and consulted restaurants. I waited tables to make ends meet and when people asked me what my real job was I would say, “I’m going to be a Food Network Star.”

When I look at this moment in my life and ask myself “How did I get here?” I am bombarded not by the memories of all the obstacles I’ve overcome, but by the faces of the people who held my hand when I thought I couldn’t take another step. The ones that gave me a shot. The ones that challenged me. You know who you are and I love you dearly. I wouldn’t be here without you and I will never be able to thank you enough.

I mention the hard knocks because it is my hope that if you’re going through a rough patch my story will inspire you to KEEP GOING. Dreams really do come true. It only took me 17 years.

My first Food Network show #HelpMyYelp debuts Monday, April 10th at 10/9 Central. It’s produced by ITV and it’s the first collaboration between Food Network and Yelp. I feel strongly that we’ve made a difference in every restaurant that’s opened its doors to us. It would mean the world to me if you would help me spread the word and most of all if you would watch it. Read more about it HERE.

I can’t wait to hear what you think! As my Abuela Alicia would say, “Pa’lante.”

By | 2017-12-19T00:37:22+00:00 March 11th, 2017|Journal|19 Comments

About the Author:

Hi I'm Monti! Though I spent half my childhood in Puerto Rico and half in the States, my little island's flavors are a part of my DNA. Every bite takes me back. Care to come with me?

19 Comments

  1. […] we’ve made a difference in every restaurant that’s opened its doors to us,” Carlo wrote in a blog post confirming the show. Here’s the big […]

  2. […] made a difference in every restaurant that’s opened its doors to us,” Carlo wrote in a blog post confirming the show. Here’s the big […]

  3. […] made a difference in every restaurant that’s opened its doors to us,” Carlo wrote in a blog post confirming the show. Here’s the big […]

  4. […] made a difference in every restaurant that’s opened its doors to us,” Carlo wrote in a blog post confirming the show. Here’s the big […]

  5. […] we’ve made a difference in every restaurant that’s opened its doors to us,” Carlo wrote in a blog post confirming the show. Here’s the big […]

  6. […] we’ve made a difference in every restaurant that’s opened its doors to us,” Carlo wrote in a blog post confirming the show. Here’s the big […]

  7. […] we’ve made a difference in every restaurant that’s opened its doors to us,” Carlo wrote in a blog post confirming the show. Here’s the big […]

  8. […] made a distinction in each eating place that’s opened its doorways to us,” Carlo wrote in a blog post confirming the show. Right here’s the large […]

  9. […] we’ve made a difference in every restaurant that’s opened its doors to us,” Carlo wrote in a blog post confirming the show. Here’s the big […]

  10. Lorena S April 13, 2017 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Oh my gosh! You are an inspiration! I can’t wait to see your show. Congratulations on your perseverance & strength!! xoxo

  11. Marek May 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    I love your story and although mine is not exactly the same, I can empathize with the hardships, trials, and tribulations of life which you have experienced and the pursuit of a dream in the”middle chapters” of ones life. Thank you for sharing this and best wishes!

  12. Trish May 6, 2017 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Girl you are amazing!! This was truly an awesome story if your life and you have done an amazing thing. My husband and I have watched your show and like it ALOT!! My dream as well is to be on a Food Network show. I love to cook, eat, try new foods and all that good stuff. Maybe one of these days my dream will come true too. Keep up the excellent work and I will keep watching your show as well!!

  13. Ruben November 29, 2017 at 11:35 am - Reply

    After reading your story, I’m glad to see how far you’ve come and how sensitive your heart is to the situation on our island. From Florida I wish you the best, we will support you from a distance. Jehovah bless you and remain as you are. Congratulations.

    • IslandGirl April 18, 2018 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Ruben! #puertoricoselevanta

  14. MAYRA RODRIGUEZ April 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Hola. Soy duena del Rest. la Guarida del Penon en el Barrio Rosario Penon de San German, Puerto Rico. Actualmente esta cerrado por los danos que sufrio por el Huracan Maria, situacion que me tiene bastante deprimida. He leido de usted y como puertorriquena agradezco todas las palabras de aliento a nuestro sufrido pais. Ojala algun dia pueda abrir nuevamente mi rest. para poder invitarla y crear un plato que lleve su nombre. La Guaridda esta en Facebook. Ahora la seguire a traves de su Food Network Show. Sere su “estudiante online”. Adelante y le admiro mucho. Dios este con usted y su hijito siempre!!! Sera un honor recibir contestacion suya.

    • IslandGirl April 18, 2018 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      Mayra I am so sorry to hear about the closing of your restaurant due to Maria. I am doing what I can to bring attention to the many restaurants on our island that have had to close their doors because of hurricane damage, lack of traffic, lack of available food etc. Please know my thoughts are with you and I feel your struggle. It would be an honor to dine at your place and an even bigger honor to have one of your dishes named after me. I know things are hard but keep moving forward. #palante #puertoricoselevanta

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