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Alexandra "Alex" Guarnaschelli is a celebrity chef and executive chef at New York City's Butter restaurant and award-winning The Darby restaurant. She appears as a television personality on the Food Network shows Chopped, Iron Chef America, All Star Family Cook-off, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. She hosts Alex's Day Off and The Cooking Loft on Food Network and Cooking Channel. In 2012, she was crowned America's Next Iron Chef on Iron Chef America, currently the only woman with that distinction and only the second female ever to obtain that TV honor.
In 2013, Guarnaschelli's first cookbook was published. Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook. ISBN 978-0307956552 mixes autobiographical details with recipes that she has loved during her life as a cook adapted for the home.
Guarnaschelli is the daughter of cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli and John Guarnaschelli. She is a graduate of Horace Mann School and graduated from Barnard College in 1991. Her culinary experience started while watching her mother test numerous recipes at home while editing cookbooks. Alex wanted to explore her culinary dreams so she began to work under Larry Forgione. After becoming a cook, Guarnaschelli worked at a number of restaurants in France, New York and Los Angeles, including Larry Forgione's An American Place and Guy Savoy's La Butte Chaillot. She also worked at Daniel Boulud's eponymous restaurant and Joachim Splichal's Patina before becoming the executive chef at Butter, equivalent to senior cook (Chef de cuisine) outside of the recognized Brigade de cuisine.
Guarnaschelli was a competitor on The Food Network's Iron Chef America, taking on Cat Cora in the 2007 "Farmers' Market Battle." Cora won the challenge. Guarnaschelli has since appeared as a judge on the program. In 2011, she competed in the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef, where she placed as the third runner-up. She also competed on the Food Network Challenge Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast episode and lost the competition. After competing in the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef, Guarnaschelli became a sous chef to Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian.
In 2008, she became the host of The Food Network's The Cooking Loft with Alex Guarnaschelli, in which the chef teaches a small group of students how to construct new variations of classic dishes.
Guarnaschelli has been a judge on Food Network's competition show Food Network Challenge, and frequently appears as a judge on Food Network's cooking competition show Chopped and on Food Network's series The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
She competed in season 5 of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption. She won in the final Kitchen Stadium showdown against chef Amanda Freitag earning her the title of Iron Chef. Her debut challenge as an Iron Chef on Iron Chef America aired on December 30, 2012.
Guarnaschelli stars in her own Food Network television show, Alex’s Day Off which premiered in October 2009 and airs regularly Saturday mornings. The show is currently on Australia's Foxtel Food Network.