Randy Pasch needed to stand out above the rest to be chosen to compete on “Guy’s Grocery Games,” a Food Network cooking reality show hosted by Guy Fieri. He wanted the challenge of shopping and creating a judge-winning, sweet and savory meal in 30 minutes.
He decided to go the transparent route—to tell judges something they may not hear every day.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without God,” Pasch said, in his audition video. “He gets all the glory.”
His video included hard parts of his story—growing up without a dad, struggling through poverty, being homeless in high school, finally getting a break to attend Sullivan University on a scholarship.
He explained that he wouldn’t be a chef without God and that Southeast Christian Church is his hospital. That the books “Don’t Give Up” and “Grace Is Greater” by Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman changed his outlook on life.
And he told producers what he’d do with the prize money: go on his first mission trip. He included a picture of himself with Idleman during a book signing in The Living Word bookstore.
Pasch made the cut.
Few have any idea how much that means.
“Growing up biracial in a small Ohio town was hard,” Pasch said. “Some told me that I had the best of two worlds—an African-American father and white mother. But I had the worst of two worlds. African-Americans didn’t accept me. Neither did whites.”
Pasch first visited Southeast with close friend Darnell Ferguson, who is a longtime member. He continued coming by himself, taking a last-row seat in the second balcony. He moved closer to the front of the sanctuary as his relationship with God changed from distant to close. For the last few years, he has sat in the front at the Blankenbaker Campus.
His proudest moment is the day he was baptized in 2013.
Someday Pasch would like to open a restaurant that honors God. Right now, he’s in a great place, working for longtime Southeast members Junior and Doris Bridgeman. He also cooks for the homeless on Sundays through their company, Manna Inc.
Robert Ott met Pasch at Southeast.
“He was sitting behind me. I started a conversation,” Ott said. “Have you ever talked with someone and the conversation was easy and meaningful from the beginning? That was Randy. He was so open, honest, vulnerable and real. He talked about his journey with Christ. We became friends that first day. During the pandemic, he called to bring us food. He is a very special man.”
Pasch wanted to be a chef since he was 12 years old after teaching himself to cook.
“My mom couldn’t cook,” Pasch said. “She burned everything. I started cooking on a George Foreman grill because my mom was working two jobs.”
He loves to create handmade pastas, turn simple dishes into masterpieces and put his own spin on favorites.
Pasch taped “Guy’s Grocery Games” last February. It aired June 24.
He loved every minute of the challenge, combining his skills with his friend, Davonte Bolden, also a Sullivan University graduate.
Pasch covered the sweet part of the challenge while Bolden covered savory. They prepared steak and eggs with cinnamon-crusted French toast.
In the end, they came in second.
He counts that as a big win.
“It gives me a platform not to make more but to do more,” he said.
Pasch didn’t earn a prize to pay for a mission trip, but his goals are shifting.
“I wanted to go on that mission trip to Africa,” he said. “Now I want to go to the West End and share my story. I want young people to know that it’s not how you start the race that counts; it’s how you finish.”