Interviewed and written by Tocarra Eldridge
Photo Credit: Kristen DiNonno Noffsinger (Kristen Rose Agency)
Celebrity chef and personality Ralph Pagano is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the food scene. Since 2015, Ralph Pagano has appeared regularly on the Lifetime Television morning show The Balancing Act that is created and produced by BrandStar. The Balancing Act is in its ninth season and brings fresh ideas to today’s modern women to enrich their everyday lives by featuring delicious recipes, style makeovers, dream getaways, parenting tips, as well as health and wealth news. Ralph Pagano was recently featured on the “Special Celebrity Edition” of The Balancing Act as a host, alongside Reza Farahan, Caroline Manzo, Montel Williams and Ali Landry. In addition to the show, he is working on his own segment, “Ralph on the Road” (a community food based segment.) The iconic chef has also appeared on shows such as Hell’s Kitchen and Iron Chef America, and on The Travel Channel, he has hosted Pressure Cook.
I had a chance to interview the celebrity chef regarding his amazing career, his new segment on The Balancing Act, as well as him being a host. I now introduce to you Chef Ralph Pagano.
Tocarra Eldridge: Thank you so much for taking out the time to interview with Consciousness Magazine.
Ralph Pagano: My pleasure!
Tocarra: Okay, you have appeared on the Balancing Act since 2015. Now, can you tell us a little bit about how that experience has been for you?
Ralph: For sure! It’s absolutely amazing! Like I said in the show, I’m a dad, I’m a husband, and I have successful businesses. The Balancing Act, I didn’t know it before, because I only use to watch trade shows and cooking shows, which is really my real life. It’s amazing to be a part of a show that’s fun and supportive and tells a good story.
Tocarra: There is a Special Celebrity Edition of The Balancing Act that aired on Lifetime. What type of gratification has that been for you knowing that you were featured on the show as a celebrity host?
Ralph: Yes, pretty cool! If you ask me, in my own house, I’m not a celebrity. [Laugh] I still have to take out the garbage, mow the grass and feed the kids. But, in the rest of the world it’s pretty cool. When you’re alongside someone like Montel who’s been doing it forever – I say that in a positive way because he’s being in TV for as long as I could remember – hosting a show. Caroline Manzo who’s has a great cool perspective about things. Ali Landry and Reza, from Shahs of Sunset (cast members) has a different take on everything. It’s good to be a part of it. Like the Academy Awards, it feels good to be nominated!
Tocarra: On the show, you are also working on a community/food based segment called “Ralph on the Road”? Would you like to tell us a little about that?
Ralph: Absolutely! “Ralph on the Road” is exactly that. I am Ralph and I go on the road. We have a 20 foot trailer that’s totally mapped out with all the cooking equipment that a chef could possibly need. The seating area on the RV is like a talk show. I pick up my guest and we roll around town in my rig and they give me the skin of what goes on in the neighborhood that we’re in – what the feeling is, what the food is, and what the vibe of the people are like. So I take that, we get to a kitchen, and I whip up my best dish that is inspired by the community or a dish that I think we [the guest and I] will both like.
Tocarra: That sounds really cool!
Ralph: Yea, for my whole life I wanted to really be a game show host. I will take a talk show host.
Tocarra: As a famous chef, do you have a favorite dish or do you have so many that it is too challenging for you to choose?
Ralph: You know what, I say it all the time. Chefs always get asked, what’s our last meal dish – what’s our favorite dish. I have to tell you. For me, sometimes it’s the simplest of things that I love. Right off, is a good plate of pasta pomodora. That heavy dose of cheese and a little chili flakes is like a perfect Italian American boy comfort food. If you really want to know the truth, the perfect cooked scramble egg with toast is like heaven.
Ralph: [Laugh] And it’s true. It’s the simplest thing to do. All you need is one ingredient, an egg and a little bit of oil to cook it in. I use olive oil and I just get the pan hot. I make eggs for my kids just about every day. I take the eggs and I put them in a pan and I turn to heat them and I stir them until they are perfectly creamy and delicious. You can also put cheese on them.
Tocarra: Outside of cooking, what are some things that you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Ralph: I work at restaurants which I happen to really love and enjoy. There’s no more fun place to be than a restaurant where everyone else goes to have a good time. I work while everyone else is having fun. I think that my work is pretty cool. If I’m not at the restaurant, you’ll probably find me at the horse race track. I’m a pretty good tennis player.
Tocarra: Oh nice! Cool!
Ralph: [Laugh] For me, I have a really good balance. I have a business; I have a great wife and great kids. I mix that up with a little dose of TV in my world. It gives me good balance and fun. I go to the beach. I try to make sure that I look at the water every day. I’m thankful for everything that happens to me on a daily basis. I count myself as one of the lucky ones.
Tocarra: Absolutely! That’s a blessing! Being a chef, does your wife expect a lot of cooking from me?
Ralph: To tell the truth, when I come home, she tells me to stop cooking.
Tocarra: Oh really! [Laugh]
Ralph: You really know what it is? It is because when I go home I start doing it like I do at work. Next thing you know an hour goes by. Don’t get me wrong, I cook at the house all the time, but I’m very lucky that my wife will. On my way home on nights or when I come home early and I’m not there for dinner services, she will have already made dinner.
Tocarra: That is nice! What type of advice or words of encouragement would you share with upcoming chefs who are anticipating having success and longevity as yourself?
Ralph: You know what? I’d say an overnight success took 15 years. I graduated from culinary school 30 years ago this year. The best way to be successful in the restaurant business is show up every day and do the best that you can. Do it the exact way that you did it yesterday or better. Stay true to yourself and the most important thing is love what you do.
Tocarra: Nice! Great advice! Before we close the interview Mr. Pagano, would you like to add anything that we haven’t discussed or mentioned?
Ralph: Like I said, I think I’m pretty lucky. I don’t know if you know but I was in an accident a couple of years ago. I burned 35 percent of my body, 3rd degree burns. I spent 2 months in the hospital. I’m able now to really be able to take a look back and really have a great deal of balance in my life. Being a part of The Balancing Act is one piece of that puzzle. So, I wish to anybody who is reading this interview peace.
Tocarra: Thank you! Thank you so much for your time Mr. Pagano. That’s some great information. Our readers will definitely enjoy.
Ralph: Awesome! Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.
The Balancing Act premiers weekday mornings at 7:30 a.m. (ET/PT) on Lifetime®.
For more information on Ralph Pagano and The Balancing Act please visit:
Last modified: June 24, 2023