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Heating Up: Student Lands Guest Spot on Food Network

Heating Up: Student Lands Guest Spot on Food Network

Posted: February 24, 2016

Chef, YouTuber, and senior individualized studies major Lazarus Lynch has been perfecting one particular recipe for years—his future. By combining his passions for food and entertainment, Lynch is well on his way to becoming the next big culinary celebrity.

Lynch will appear on the Food Network show The Kitchen on Saturday, February 27, at 11:00 a.m. with repeat airings on Sunday, February 28, at 1:00 p.m. and Monday, February 29, at 2:00 p.m.

“I’ve appeared on other shows, but this is my first official one by myself,” said Lynch, beaming with pride. “They reached out to me through email. I got to the studio, they walked me through what was going to happen, and it was over 15 minutes later. A lot of planning goes into such a short period of time, which is how productions usually work.”

Buzzworthy Blend
Lynch knows about show production firsthand. While still a few months away from graduation, he has already whisked up a devoted following on social media and garnered more than 136,000 views and nearly 5,000 subscribers for his instructional cooking videos.

Lynch conceived “My College Kitchen,” a popular web series for students on a budget looking for healthy and tasty food options, which he cohosts with public communication major Sanam Sheth.

Buffalo State students Thomas Barlette, Maria-Elena Damasiewicz, Van Dinh, Nathan Gambino, Robin Lazzara, Nicholas Palumbo, and Mark Pasqualotto have all assisted with pre- and post-production on the series.  

In all of his videos, Lynch radiates positivity and inclusiveness. Commenters not only express admiration for his relatable approach to cooking, but also for his inspiring zest for life.  

Still, even with all the videos views and website traffic, a national television appearance will provide some welcome exposure.

“It was a very exciting opportunity. It was also nice to see some familiar faces at the Food Network,” said Lynch, who interned at the channel while attending Food and Finance High School in New York City.

“Lazarus was so willing and so genuinely interested to really know what goes into this,” said Claudia Sidoti, test kitchen manager for Food Network Kitchens, who taught Lynch recipe writing.

“He recognized that, while he wanted to take a risk and do something independently, he had things to learn. He really wanted to do it in a smart way and take a lot of care.”

A Chip Off of the Old Block
Raised in Queens by his Southern-born father and South American mother, Lynch grew up surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of a bustling kitchen. In his teen years, Lynch’s family opened a soul food restaurant which further steeped the youth in the culinary arts.

“Sunday was very traditional at my house. My mom would cook. She’s from Guyana and makes a lot of Caribbean dishes,” said Lynch. “When I’m cooking at home, I usually go back to something I’m familiar with—either from my mom or dad’s side. It’s an interesting mix.”

Sadly, Lynch’s father passed away last year. However, the patriarch remains the young chef’s primary influence and inspiration. In tribute, Lynch has named his website, video series, and brand “Son of a Southern Chef” (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @Sonofasouthernchef).

“I try to bring something vibrant, colorful, exciting, and fresh to my dad’s recipes,” said Lynch. “I’ll take something like his mac and cheese and make it my own—add gouda or gruyère. I try to get a little exotic and step outside of the box a little, stretching the boundaries.”

Appropriately, the theme for the Kitchen episode on which Lynch will appear is called “Southern Comforts.” Lynch will prepare a mouth-watering “‘Bama mud pie mousse” for the show.

Pictured (left to right): The Kitchen co-hosts Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, Sunny Anderson, and Marcela Valladoid with Lynch (center).

One Smart Cookie
Lynch came to Buffalo State with the idea of studying dietetics and nutrition. He soon realized that his interests in social media and entrepreneurship were a perfect match for an individualized studies degree with a concentration in communication. Lynch built Son of a Southern Chef’s website from scratch and also created special photo blog called “Chop Block,” which contains inspirational thoughts and messages written on a large cutting board.

“From the first time we met and discussed his plans and goals, it was clear to me that he had those special qualities of drive, talent, and charisma needed to define himself in front of a camera,” said Lou Rera, associate professor of communication. “I have often told Lazarus that he is fulfilling his destiny and, by the measure of his early achievements thus far, he is doing just that.”

While much of his success can be attributed his own determination and work ethic, Lynch credits his experiences at Buffalo State for helping him get a jumpstart on his career.

“Buffalo State is such an intimate community,” said Lynch. “It’s small and I feel that’s been a great benefit for me to partner with professors and network here on campus. The mentorship, guidance, and support has been huge. I’ve taken business classes, worked with the Small Business Development Center, learned how to incorporate my company, and trademarked my brand here. So all of those things are already done.”

No Flash in the Pan
The entertainment market is full of young hopefuls looking to be the next Bobby Flay or Rachael Ray. But Lynch’s buoyant personality and down-home taste will give him an edge.

“He’s touching people and he’s got a message,” said Sidoti. “He’s reaching an audience that definitely wants to hear what he has to say. That’s unique.”  

So what’s next on the menu for this up-and-comer?

“I’ve been in conversations with networks and production companies about creating shows, but don’t have anything definite yet. I’m in a really exciting place. It looks the summer is going to be a very busy time!”


Above: Lynch demonstrates how to make five-ingredient Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili at a cooking demo held Thursday, February 25, in the Campbell Student Union lobby. The event was sponsored by Tammy Kresge of organizeyourselfskinny.com and Weigel Health Promotions.

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