Food & Beverage

CNTV’s Jacky Herrera Is a Contender on “Food Fighters”

"I grew up the youngest daughter of a really big Mexican family, and cooking was one of the ways I stood out."

jacky_herreraViewers of Convention News Television are probably familiar with reporter (and client content manager) Jacky Herrera’s effervescent broadcasts. Last week, NBC viewers got to see Herrera in action, too — this time, cooking up her signature cheese enchiladas and trash-talking professional chefs on the debut episode of the second season of “Food Fighters,” a show which pits ambitious home cooks against professional chefs in a live-action showdown.

“I grew up the youngest daughter of a really big Mexican family, and cooking was one of the ways I stood out,” she tells host Adam Richman, explaining that her mom taught her everything she knows about cooking as she grew up in El Paso, Texas. “I really just want to make her proud.”

And also, well, win $100,000 if she prevailed in all five rounds. With the big bucks at stake, Herrera turned fiery. “You are going down!” she hollers at chef Ray Lampe, aka “Dr. BBQ,” as they scramble around their respective stations in round one.

So how did it all turn out? You’ll have to watch the episode, called “I’m Bringing The Spice,” to find out.

Herrera was thrilled that she was chosen to appear on the show, which was filmed last fall in Los Angeles. “It was one of the best experiences of my life,” Herrera told Convene by phone from Orlando, where she lives. “It was challenging, emotionally and physically, and it really forced me to look inside to make sure that I was confident to make these dishes against these chefs.”

For several excruciating months, Herrera and her family had to stay mum about the outcome. Spoiler alert: Herrera does not walk away empty-handed. What does she plan to do with the winnings? “I want to treat my parents to a nice trip,” said Herrera. “I’m one of six children, and I just feel that I’d like to give back to my parents. They basically donated their whole lives to us kids. And our family was so big it was really hard to take family trips every year.”

Despite the cash in hand, Herrera said the “Food Fighters” experience also gave her some personal capital. “If an opportunity presents itself, it’s essential to go after it,” said Herrera, admitting she was nervous about appearing. “I thought about not doing it, but I’m so glad I did. It taught me so much, and NBC was outstanding to work with. I’m a competitor at heart!”

Corin Hirsch

Corin Hirsch is a writer who specializes in food and drink.