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From the age of 13, Jeffrey Saad knew food was his calling. Working at the local diner behind his junior high school, he was hooked: "I flipped my first burger and in that moment I knew that food was going to be my life. I was completely inspired watching food transform into irresistible eating experiences." After studying hotel and restaurant management at Iowa State, Jeffrey continued his studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. A man on a mission, he dedicated late nights to learning the ins and outs of the food business, quickly gaining experience working in the kitchens of several restaurants and bakeries. While interning with Anton Mosimann in London, Jeffrey spent early mornings working with the pastry chef, learning how to prepare fine desserts and breads. Ready to begin a business of his own, Jeffrey returned to California to open "Sweet Heat." Serving fresh and healthy Mexican-inspired fare, the restaurant was a hit. Jeffrey opened two others before moving on to become partner in charge of operations at "Pasta Pomodoro Italian Restaurants," working to open the first dozen of the 40-plus restaurants in the chain. In 2009, Jeffrey burst onto the national food scene after finishing as runner up in Season 5 of "The Next Food Network Star." Following his success on the show, he hosted "The Spice Smuggler" for FoodNetwork.com. Jeffrey’s cooking borrows inspiration from his passion for fresh food and exotic spices, giving way to unconventional twists on classic dishes, like his seared scallop tacos with green chili chutney. But make no mistake, he will always remain loyal to traditional American fare, such as burgers, meatballs and his favorite, pizza.
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