Jenn Thomas-Pallotta is at it again.
The Ravenna resident will appear on tonight’s episode of Fox’s MasterChef, which airs from 8 to 10 p.m. on WJW Channel 8.
What Thomas-Pallotta can say about her experience on the show is limited. She had to sign a non-disclosure agreement until her time on the show is completed.
She said the taping took place in Los Angeles in January. Tonight’s two-hour season premiere episode details the audition phase of the reality cooking show.
It was six years ago when Thomas-Pallotta first made her cooking debut on national television when she was selected to be a contestant on the Rachael Ray show’s ‘‘So You Think You Can Cook” contest.
Thomas-Pallotta won the contest, which included a prize of a week of specialized training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and a feature on Ray’s show and in her magazine.
Since then, Thomas-Pallotta has been working hard to get her career in food going. In 2009, she and chef Stefanie Paganini hosted their own show, Dinner and Drinks, on Time Warner Cable’s Northeast Ohio Network and she is a regular at local food shows.
Thomas-Pallotta works as a manager at Ken Stewart’s Lodge in Bath Township, where tonight they will have the television tuned in to watch her.
MasterChef, which debuts its fourth season tonight, features chef Gordon Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich and chef Graham Elliot putting a group of contestants through a series of cooking challenges and elimination rounds, with the ultimate goal of turning one amateur cook into a culinary master.
While she could not reveal whether she made it through the audition phase and got to be a contestant, Thomas-Pallotta said she was happy to be back home in Ohio, where she is currently working on writing a book about the years she suffered from anorexia nervosa.
The 31-year-old suffered from the eating disorder in her early 20s. Her weight dropped from 140 to 110 pounds on her 5-foot-5-inch frame.
As part of her therapy, Thomas-Pallotta was told to learn how to cook. “That’s when I really fell in love with food,” she said.
Thomas-Pallotta said cooking is common therapy for those dealing with anorexia, because it forces patients to take small tastes of food as they prepare it, helping to reintroduce eating into their lives. It also helps them to re-establish a healthy relationship with food.
Not only did Thomas-Pallotta recover, but also her recovery resulted in a love of food and cooking that she has been putting to use ever since.
“My physical recovery was over a year but my mental recovery is a lifelong process. I battle with it every day. The difference is I am stronger than ever and I have my support group in place to sense when I am weak mentally and physically,” she said.
Thomas-Pallotta kept journals during the time and is hoping that if she can turn them into a book, her experience may help others who are fighting similar battles with eating disorders.
“My main focus right now is my website (www.jenncancook. com) and working on my journals,” she said.