ZÃ³calo Chef Ryan Rose, 28, learned today that he's one of 15 finalists for the "Next Food Network Star YouTube Challenge," an online video contest that attracted about 250 entries.
The winner gets a free trip to New York, dinner at a Food Network star's restaurant and most importantly, a meeting with Food Network executives.
"It's super exciting," said Rose, who has worked his way up from bartender to head chef at the midtown Sacramento restaurant over the past six years
Rose was hunting online for casting information last month on how to apply for "The Next Food Network Star" when he ran across the YouTube contest. He quickly got a video together.
He's hoping the look of his video, set in ZÃ³calo's kitchen, helps set him apart from the other finalists.
"I (taped it) through an actual Saturday brunch service," Rose said. "There were line cooks working and flames shooting up."
The video shows Ryan cooking paella, a dish he learned to cook while studying in Spain eight years ago.
The country fueled his love of food, but it was The Food Network that helped teach Rose how to cook. Now, he's hoping to return the favor.
"I'd love to be able to do that same thing for someone else," he said.
Online voting is being held through Aug. 16. The winner will be announced online Aug. 23.
You can see Rose's video at 6 p.m. today at ZÃ³calo, where they're holding a viewing party and tequila and paella tasting. Or watch it here courtesy of YouTube (but you have to go to the online voting site to cast your ballot).