Rory Schepisi’s name might sound familiar to some. She was a finalist in the hit television show, "The Next Food Network Star." Schepisi owns a popular steakhouse, The Boot Hill Saloon, in Vega, TX, where she and her cowboy boyfriend raise and sell horses on their ranch. Schepisi’s country life is a far cry from her roots, where she grew up 15 minutes out of New York City and lived six years as a vegetarian. Having grown up in the restaurant business, cooking was a passion for Schepisi; after going to culinary school, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. After almost giving up, one last final audition landed her a contestant spot on the reality television program, "Popularity Contest," for Country Music Television (CMT), which was located back in the small town of Vega, TX.
So, why should beef producers care about this city girl who dabbles in cooking, acting and reality television? When Schepisi placed second on the show, she realized her heart was with rural America. She traded in her designer high heels for cowboy boots, and she fell in love with a cattleman who showed her the ropes of ranching. Although she was once a big city girl, she now serves as one of the beef industry’s biggest advocates, serving up sizzling steaks and boasting about the health benefits of beef to anyone who will listen.
She has appeared on the "Rachael Ray Show," the cover of Bon Appétit magazine, and she is the face for the Southwest Dairy Farmers organization. She is currently working on her first cookbook and is developing ideas for her own cooking show. With a whirlwind career already under her belt, the cowgirl chef loves the simple things in life the most -- a grilled steak and a quiet evening on the ranch. I had the opportunity to visit with this beef advocate, and I quickly realized we were kindred spirits -- sharing the same love of cooking, cattle ranching and country life. Read on for more on Rory's story.
“Beef is my speciality. I love how many different cuts and flavors come from one animal and how there are so many different ways you can prepare it. No matter what I do to my steaks, there is nothing better than just a steak on the grill with a little salt and pepper," she admits.
To add flair to her steaks, this celebrity chef creates what she simply named, “Steak Dip.” It’s one part soy sauce and one part pickled jalapeno juice, with additional steak seasonings. The steaks are dipped and grilled, then dipped again before finishing, a quick addition that she described as, “an amazing complement to beef!”
Her love of beef is only matched by her love of cattlemen.
"Beef is such a huge source of protein, and consumers need to discover that again. The negative stories about one facility or one bad health report about beef really puts a damper on cattle ranchers everywhere. It really hurts cattlemen, and that’s such a shame," she says.
Schepisi certainly has a unique story, an award-winning personality, a star-studded resume, and a true heart for agriculture, beef and the cowboy way of life. Lucky for us cattle producers, her goal is to create an awareness and appreciation for healthy, lean beef and the hard-working cattlemen who put that beef on the dinner table.
“I wish more people knew that food doesn’t come from the grocery store. There is so much that goes into one steak. Today’s consumers need to hear this story, and I’m going to tell it!" affirms Schepisi.
Watch this beef advocate and follow her rise to stardom here. Be a chef yourself and get inspired by healthy, lean beef. What's your favorite cut of beef? How do you like it prepared? What's the best beef recipe in your book? Share with us today!