When Jeff Mauro, BRADLEY 2000, out-cooked 14 competitors to win the Food Network’s Food Network Star television show in 2011, he was awarded his own show on the network, Sandwich King, during which he instructs his viewers on how to make some of his favorite sandwiches.
Now Mauro has received a new show and a new challenge. His latest endeavor, $24 in 24, debuted Sept. 24 at 9:30 CST, and during its half-hour segment every Monday, Mauro has to find three meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — and a snack included for less than $24 in various cities around the United States.
“It was fun. There are a lot of resources that get put into finding the perfect places,” Mauro says. “There are four locations each in eight cities. I have $24 dollars, and it has to all add up — with tax and tip. The food has to be exceptional. The owners, the chefs, the proprietors have to be interesting and fun to talk to and have a great story. The parameters are very tight.”
With Sandwich King, which is filmed in the Chicagoland area where Mauro resides, adding his new show to the mix creates quite a busy lifestyle for the former Chapter Balfour Award winner and Magister. “Sandwich King is shot here [near Chicago], and that only takes about two weeks. That’s for a full 13 episodes,” Mauro says. “I think it is going to get more interesting if both shows get picked up [by Food Network] and you have to try to fit them both in. $24 in 24 takes a lot more as far as time and travel.”
Mauro, always a colorful character at chapter events as an undergraduate, credits Sigma Chi with succeeding in show business. “That was an outlet for me. Sigma Chi also taught me to be a good friend and how to have people’s backs,” Mauro says. “In this Hollywood business, it’s pretty cutthroat. I think I know how to sniff out the good from the bad, and I think Sigma Chi taught me how to do that.”