Cooking priest vs. celebrity chef

Posted by Patrice Tuohy
Wednesday 09, September 2009 | Category:   Clergy

Father Leo Patalinghug, founder of Grace Before Meals, a ministry that encourages cooking and sharing meals together as  away to nurture faith, was challenged to a cookoff with celebrity chef Bobby Flay. The results of the showdown airs on the Food Network Challenge, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.According to a Balitmore Sun article by Matthew Brown, Patalinghug, the director of pastoral field education at Mount St. Mary's Seminary, had been lured in front of the cameras for a supposed feature on his ministry. But he soon learned that it was a setup for an episode of "Throwdown with Bobby Flay." Pataolinghug adopted a tone of mock outrage when the ruse was revealed: "Food Network, you lied to a priest!"

Patalinghug's website,, on which he posts recipes and professionally produced webisodes, gets 10,000 hits daily; he is talking with PBS about airing a series. His self-published cookbook, "Grace Before Meals: Recipes for Family Life," has entered its second printing, and he is in talks with Random House to produce the third. All of it, he says, is an extension of his work as a priest. "I'm inviting people to the table," Patalinghug says. "I'm doing what Jesus did. Before he started teaching theologically, he fed them loaves and fishes. I don't want to separate people and only address their spirit." "People aren't going to read a long theological essay," he says. "But surely they can look at a five-minute passage while the water is boiling."

Grace Before Meals overview:

UPDATE from It's official - Father Leo Patalinghug defeated renowned chef Bobby Flay in a Fusion Fajita cook-off. The episode of “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” will be re-broadcast on September 20 at 11 p.m. EST and September 21 at 2 a.m. EST.


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