NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Daniela Savone, of Westchester, New York, has been in the kitchen her entire life. Cooking and food are in her blood, she says. Her parents came to Mamaroneck from Italy in the 1970s. Her father Luigi owned an Italian Deli in North Rockland, where she worked every summer.
But it was her nonna who taught her all of the secrets behind the stove. Daniela says she would watch her grandmother cook all day and help her.
The self-taught chef has two cookbooks but wanted to pursue her culinary dream. She resigned from her teaching position after 15 years and auditioned for the FOX television show MasterChef.
"I took a tremendous risk, a huge risk," she says. "But I didn't think twice."
Daniela beat out tens of thousands of other home cooks across the country, making the top 40 and going to Los Angeles for the season.
"I remember that moment I just froze and like, 'Oh my god, there's Joe Bastianich'—I've grown up watching his mom on TV," she says. "And Gordon Ramsay and Aarón Sánchez—it was just an unbelievable moment I will never forget."
She showed us her skills in her kitchen at home. She cooked up an asparagus risotto with pancetta and porcini mushrooms. She serves up a lot of love in every dish.
"I hope that I can share that with the world and that it also spills out onto the plate," Daniela says.
So you'll have to wait to see if Daniela won the coveted white apron. Tune into MasterChef on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox 5.