I was watching a rerun of Food Network's "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" last night, a show which has the "Boy Meets Grill" Iron Chef challenge ordinary people with extraordinary cooking skills in their own specialty. Last night's episode featured a "man of the cloth" donning an apron--Father Leo Patalinghug from Maryland! When I saw his looks and heard his name, I had a strong sense that he's Filipino...and I was right!
Known as the "Cooking Priest," he has his own website called "Grace Before Meals" (which also became a cooking show on PBS) where he preaches that preparing good food brings together families and hence closer to God.
I was impressed with his achievements even before entering the priesthood, which consists of degrees in writing and political science, plus a black belt in martial arts! He's a mean break-dancer too! His resume doesn't list him as a former business plan consultant, though. His wit is as shiny as his spatula, as he joked on TV that he learned how to cut vegetables from Mother Teresa of Cal-cut-ta. His divine culinary skills were developed while being a seminarian in Italy--one of the best places to be holy and kitchen savvy!
Chef Bobby Flay challenged him to a Steak Fajita Throwdown...and Fr. Leo used his brown sugar and ginger sauce (and holy water?) to outgrill (and outpray) the challenger. Imagine that! One of Flay's fortes is fajitas, and Fr. Leo beat him!
Watch an overview of his "Grace Before Meals" show (which is also a cook book) and see how cool and funny he is...which also goes to show that Food and Faith can be a heavenly combination!
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