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LAist Interview: Food Network's Jeffrey Saad Spices Things Up

Jeffrey Saad at the Los Angeles Magazine Food Event, Oct. 2009 (Elise Thompson/LAist)
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Change is never easy for most of us, even if we're looking for something a little different in our lives. But Jeffrey Saad makes change--big or small--look easy. In fact, he makes change seem like something we all can do, just a little, to spice up our lives. Of course, for Saad, the big changes came when he gave up his career to give being The Next Food Network Star a shot in the show's highly successful 5th season. As a result, the self-proclaimed "Spice Smuggler" is now able to make home cooks all over feel like they can take on something new in the kitchen, by adding a little spice to their food. Recently we sat down with Saad to talk about the show, his upcoming endeavors, eating in Los Angeles, and spices.The Next Food Network Star may have changed Saad's life entirely, but what might surprise you is that was a case of change by design. Says Saad: "It changed my life completely because I actually did it to change my life. I wanted to transition into food--that was the goal."

Having left behind his work in real estate, Saad is now able to focus solely on food, which is his true passion. As a result, his interactions with the people he encounters on a daily basis are proving to have the unexpected benefit of allowing him to hear their food stories about family, including one cab driver in Chicago who confessed to Saad that while his family struggled through tough times they were able to stay bonded and share quality time together by watching The Next Food Network Star.

All this has Saad exactly where he wants to be: "I’m back to what I love which is food," he says, smiling.