Local chef faces reality
Gregorich is sous chef
at Euphemia Haye restaurant
on Longboat Key. Gregorich
prepares a dish on "Hell's Kitchen."
Former Island resident Jamie Gregorich recently blazed into primetime reality TV as a star on the FOX show "Hell's Kitchen." The Kitchen is an hour-long show where Chef Gordon Ramsay puts a group of aspiring chefs through intense challenges to see who can outlast the others and win the competition. The winner receives a life-changing prize: a head chef position at BLT Steak in New York City.
After surviving six weeks of the competition, Gregorich finally was eliminated last week. But she said the adventure was an incredible one.
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," she said. "I learned so much while I was there that any chef would kill for. I made lifelong friends and memories I will never forget. Never in a million years would I have even dreamed of this opportunity. I take everything in stride and I feel truly grateful to have stumbled upon this."
Chef Ramsay, she said, "was very intense and tough to work for. He's an amazing leader, though, that never holds back. But we did get to see a funny side of him off camera and he seems like a normal dude."
Gregorich grew up on Anna Maria Island and played every sport offered at the Community Center before moving to Bradenton after fifth grade. She played soccer and graduated from Manatee High School in 2004. She then chose to move on to culinary art school at Manatee Technical Institute and graduated in 2008. She currently holds the title of sous chef and has been learning from her mentor, Chef Mark Keckstein, of Euphemia Haye, since the day she started working there. Gregorich also is an M.T.I culinary instructor when not at the restaurant.
She decided to pursue her culinary arts career further and auditioned for the show. When she found out she made the cast of "Hell's Kitchen" she was ecstatic and off to Hollywood she went.
"We didn't get to see much outside of the H.K. walls, but what we did get to see of Hollywood was amazing," she said. "It's such a huge area and to think it's such a tiny piece of that huge state."
When asked how being on the show changed her life now that she is back in Bradenton she said, "Well, when I first got back there wasn't much change in everyday life, but when the show aired I was receiving requests from all the local papers, TV and radio stations, sporting events … it was just amazing to think little ol' me was getting all this publicity."
Stardom has not changed this local girl who knows her roots. When Jamie is not being a Chef, she can still be seen in the kitchen at Euphemia Haye and playing with her friends in adult soccer and flag football leagues. Her future as a chef is bright. She plans on continuing down the ever-growing culinary road and working her two jobs before traveling to different kitchens around the country to learn.