The "Cooking Priest" whips up food for the body & soul

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

CHANDLER, Ariz -- He wears a priest's collar, but also dons a chef's hat. The so-called "Cooking Priest" whipped up some tasty treats Monday at Seton Catholic Preparatory School in Chandler.

Fr. Leo Patalinghug learned to cook in Italy, has his own cooking show, and even beat out Iron Chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network.

The Philippines-born priest is the creator of Grace Before Meals, a movement founded on the belief that shared meals foster deeper family relationships and nourish the soul.

"When we impart knowledge to our children about how to feed themselves, something powerful can happen," Fr. Leo says. "Food has the power to bring people together."

Fr. Leo is the also the author of the book "Grace Before Meals," and the host of the popular online video series by the same name. He earned "celebrity chef" status when he defeated Iron Chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network's "Throwdown! with Bobby Flay" with his Fusion Fajitas. 

"I said a prayer and I beat him," Dr. Leo laughs. "I tell people I cheated, that I put holy water water in the marinade. But I really think my recipe was just better in that particular dish."

On Monday's Good Morning Arizona, Fr. Leo joined Seton Prep students as he demonstrated how he makes "Eggs in the Nest", a delicious breakfast classic that families can make and share together.

"That's kind of what I talked about with the kids," says Fr. Leo. "They've got to find goodness in them so that they can feed a world that's hungry for goodness."

Seton Catholic Prep brought Fr. Leo to the Southeast Valley as part of the Seton Speakers Series, a lineup of renowned and global speakers who capture the characteristics Seton instills in its students: determination, faith, courage and love.

"We're honored to welcome Fr. Leo to Seton and the Chandler community," said David Sorkin, assistant principal at Seton Catholic Prep. "His message of getting families back in the kitchen and around the table is a reminder to us all of the different ways we can nourish each another. His recipes bring out our inner-chef and are delicious!"

Fr. Leo will also present at St. Andrew the Apostle in Chandler on Nov. 4 and 5. For more information, visit You can learn more about Fr. Leo by visiting