Cooking her way to the top of the 'Food Network'

Katie Cavuto Boyle is attempting to fry, bake, broil or stir fry her way to being the next celebrity chef. And to do this she is using a couple of cups of passion, a few pounds of love of food and a few gallons of hard work. Mixing these ingredients, the West Chester native is putting them in a pan and putting that pan in the Food Network’s oven. Hopefully, it will bake to perfection.

But to find out, you’re going to have to tune into the Food Network’s “The Next Food Network Star,” the cooking competition show which has turned chefs into celebrities, chefs like past-show winner Guy Fieri who hosts “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” The show’s season begins June 7 and runs through the summer so you’ll have to tune in to see how she does.

Growing up, Boyle, who was recently married, was a gymnast, competing on the U.S. Junior Olympic National team in 1997. While on the team at Penn State University, Boyle suffered an injury that left her unable to train or compete. During her recovery she fell in love with healthy cooking, with “fueling my body well,” she said. It wasn’t that she didn’t fuel her body well before, she was an athlete, but with being injured, it was a different approach to eating well.

It went well with her post-college plans — she was thinking of medical school. But with the injury and a new found passion for cooking, those plans changed. She left PSU in 1999 for Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., graduating from the university’s Culinary Arts school. At Johnson & Wales, Boyle learned how to not only cook, but plan menus and run restaurants. In culinary school, she said, “you’re learning the basics and then progressing from there.” She also learned that she was on the correct career path.

So Boyle received her master’s in food nutrition from Tufts University in Boston. She wanted to not only cook well but understand the nutrition behind the meal. And she has.

“I’ve really taken by cooking degrees and incorporated nutrition … making my career unique.”

She used those degrees and worked not only in restaurants but also as a dietician at Graduate Hospital/Hannemann University Hospital/St. Agnes Long Term Care Facility, in Philadelphia, before starting her own business, Healthy Bites, a year ago. Healthy Bites is where she said she puts nutrition and cooking together, consulting on what to eat and how to plan meals to be as healthy as possible.

The one thing Boyle stresses is “really reinforcing food label reading … really helping people with the grocery store experience,” so you know what you are buying. She said there is a lot of confusion with what is truly organic food, and with the labels “fat free” and “sugar free.” People, Boyle said, “grab products by (the products’) marketing.”

“I really like to teach people the benefits of eating organic and buying local,” she said.

With having Healthy Bites, Boyle is a regular on local morning shows including “Good Day” on Fox and “The 10 Show” on NBC, as well as “The Morning Show” on CBS.

With a career in cooking and food and having experience in front of a camera, when audtions for this season of “The Next Food Network Star” were announced, Boyle decided to put her ingredients in the pot. She thought she had what the judges were looking for — personality, food knowledge and cooking technique.

Boyle sent in tape after tape as the judges requested them. “You are going through a series of ongoing auditions until (the judges) pick the contestants,” which takes a couple of months, Boyle said. “It was very exciting and I was a bit scared at the same time.”

And then she was picked as a contestant for the show. “I thought, oh my gosh, am I doing to do this?” She did. The taping was done over six weeks in New York.

“It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot from the other finalists,” Boyle said. “It’s challenging and you have to try to remain confident.” But that’s not all she learned, adding, “I learned how important it is to be yourself.”

— The Food Networks, “The Next Food Network Star” airs Sunday, June 7 at p.m. on The Food Network. More information can be found at

— To contact staff writer Justin McAneny, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit his blog at

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