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Chef Corsino On TV!

By: Elina Sadeghian

Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship has just started a new season of talented bakers featuring Derek Corsino, our very own Healdsburg High School culinary arts teacher, on television!

On the first day of school in August, Chef Corsino received a call from the producers of Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship, wishing to cast him. Although it was a short notice, the HHS staff were very supportive of Chef Corsino and planned to bring in substitute teachers when needed. The rest is history.

This is not the first baking show Chef Corsino has participated in. In fact in 2010, he received a similar phone call from Food Network to be casted in a baking show which at first he thought was “a practical joke”, confused by how they got his number. Chef Corsino was 24 years old at the time and had only been in the baking industry for a few years professionally. It was a big risk for Chef to accept the offer due to him being the only one working at his company and the call that he received was during the wedding season (where requests come in and the money is guaranteed). After a bit of push and pull, Chef Corsino finally agreed to become part of the show. 

According to Chef Corsino, “There are two ways to gain big fame in the food world. The easy way is to be seen by everybody in Food Network, Bravo, or a cooking show because the whole nation can see you. The other way is to stay silent about it and stay in the community.  You can have all these awards and you can be an awesome chef; the best chefs in the world have never set foot on a food network.” At the end of the day, Chef participated in these competitions to have fun. Now as a teacher, Chef wants “students to see what I can do in pastry because they don't get to see that side of me. For the competitions they often ask for photos of my work and I only have photos of your [students] works. So they ask me to make them a cake real quick to prove that I can still do this.”

For the auditions of the Spring Baking Championships Chef Corsino had to build a cake on zoom with people watching him from NYC and all over. “It was to see if I wasn't just faking it” Chef Corsino laughed. Of course because this was shot during the pandemic, safety measures were taken and the competitors quarantined for a week. The baking stations were all apart and the producers were in masks. “The only way you would know we were in a pandemic is that we were wearing gloves the whole time.” Chef Corsino remarked. 

Not only was Chef shooting the competition, he was also teaching his students from his hotel room. Chef Corsino is a very passionate teacher. After asking him if he would have his own cooking show one day he responded, “Probably not but if I do, I would like it to be during summer so I could teach. I am not off to seeking fame and stardom but if I were asked to judge or host something, definitely yes!” Not only is Chef doing all these things he is also a student himself, getting his masters degree with Culinary Institute of America online. He is truly a role model for being able to carry through such a hectic schedule as he does. 

It was inevitable for Chef Corsino’s students to find out that the chef was shooting a show. Chef recalls that Chris Dow, an HHS senior, figured out the show immediately even though the chef was very vague with giving details about what he was actually doing. Chef saw Chris frantically writing something down on a piece of  paper. When he  slowly raised the paper to the screen, he saw that it read “Spring Baking Championship.” Chef Corsino said he instantly burst out laughing. He did not however, confirm nor deny anything. “How he figured that out, I don’t know,” stated Chef. 

Chef Corsino’s advice for his students is “I want to make sure that people who have a passion in food whether it be on the hot side of culinary, baking and pastry, or even hospitality, you follow your passions. I was given good advice by my mother and grandfather that follow your passions and find what you love then figure out how to make money out of it because you have to pay your bills. For a lot of students thinking that being a baker means not making it out there and making minimum wage don't let anyone tell you to stop what you're doing and that it can not be done.”

If you want to watch Chef Corsino on The Spring Baking Championship, New Season Premieres on Monday, February 22nd on Food Network and discovery+ !

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