If Jeff Mauro Hadn’t Failed So Many Auditions, He Might Have Never Made It to ‘Food Network’

It’s rare to be successful on the first try, but it’s still a lesson we often forget. Luckily for sandwich lovers, Jeff Mauro didn’t give up on his dreams, even after several failed attempts.

So, if you need a little motivation (or you’re hungry), he may be the perfect Food Network star to stream right now. 

Jeff Mauro failed three auditions

Jeff Mauro
Jeff Mauro | John Lamparski/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Mauro first came into public awareness after winning the seventh season of Food Network Star. He used humor, amazing sandwiches, and his personal mantra, “you can make any meal into a sandwich and any sandwich into a meal,” to wow the judges. 

After the show, he continued his success by hosting The Sandwich King, and $24 in 24, turning his cooking skills into a high profile career. But it all took a little patience. 

He might have been the champion of season seven, but what many people aren’t aware of is Mauro’s long journey to get there. Before he ever had a chance at winning, Mauro had to first convince the producers just to let him be a contestant. According to Progressive Grocer, It took four auditions, the first three of which were unsuccessful, before he made it on to the show. 

Luckily, he eventually made it big. Not only winning Food Network Star, but going on to become a celebrity chef. When people see him now, most don’t understand all the hard work that it took to make his dreams come true. He’s asked all the time what it’s like to be an “overnight success,” but Mauro insists that isn’t the case. 

“I kind of engineered my life to do what I’m doing right now,” Mauro told Chicago Parent. “It wasn’t overnight, some people are like: what does it feel like to be an overnight success? And I’m like, ‘I was 32. I lived in Los Angeles four years, and failed in my own city for four to five years, so it wasn’t an overnight success.'”

Jeff Mauro doesn’t want fame to effect his family

RELATED: Watching Jeff Mauro Cook With His Son on ‘The Kitchen’ is Helping Fans Through Hard Times

Once all his hard work started to pay off, Mauro was still very conscious about the pitfalls that could lay ahead, specifically the effect on his family. 

“I knew our life would change at that moment,” Mauro told Chicago Parent about winning Food Network Star, “and it did, but it was my job as captain of this ship to steer it in the right direction and through the calmest waters possible. There’s a lot to the entertainment business that can decimate a family.

So far, he seems to be doing a pretty good job with that goal. Mauro still lives in the same Chicago neighborhood that he grew up in, just blocks away from extended family. He and his wife, Sarah, have been married since 2005, and they share a son and two dogs. 

Jeff Mauro tries to encourage others

Because Mauro knows what it’s like bomb your big chance, he made the perfect mentor on Star Salvation. The web-exclusive spin-off took competitors who have been rejected from Food Network Star, and gave them another chance to compete.

He knows from experience that a star doesn’t always make it on the first try, and Mauro appears to use that knowledge to help him have compassion with contestants. 

“…[I] look for somebody who is maybe looked over because of a bad day or a bad dish, and see through that one flub,” Mauro told the Food Network, when asked what he looks for in a Star Salvation contestant. 

It’s been nearly 10 years since Mauro first won Food Network Star and was boosted into the public eye. Although he’s no longer hosting The Sandwich King, which was canceled after five seasons, Mauro regularly makes TV appearances on and off the Food Network, showing us all how to make great sandwiches.

However, if he hadn’t stuck around after those failed auditions, he never would have become a star in the first place.