ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Restaurant owner Phillip Tomasso was one of six competing in “Guy’s Chance of a Lifetime.” The final episode premiered on Food Network Sunday evening, and it was revealed that he placed second in total voting.
The winner of the show was Kevin, and he will be the new owner of a new Guy Fieri franchise, “Chicken Guy.” But all of the runner-ups were treated to a very special surprise prize; if they want to start their own franchises, the $40,000 fee will be waived, leading to Tomasso half-joking about looking for investors. He also recalled how Fieri left them hanging in the final episode.
“He took about three minutes and then would stop and laugh because we’re sitting there like all of us are freaking out waiting to hear who won,” he said. “And he’s he’s like just messing with us. So it was funny.”
Tomasso says that besides the incredible runner-up prize, he gained another family on the show, saying that all of the competitors are close, and are still in touch. He got to see first hand what it takes to be “one of the most exciting things (he’s) ever done.”
“One of the biggest things I would say is never count yourself out, always try your best, and be confident. Confidence is key, and that’s something I had to learn from doing this experience here,” Tomasso said, back in December when his involvement was first announced.
That lesson is still true, and he said as much Monday. But the other thing he learned from being on the show is how to translate the consistency of a franchise like “Chicken Guy” to his daily operations at Something Delicious.
As for more TV appearances, he said would love another crack at it… While admitting that his wife may not be up for it, but he suspects she’ll come around if the right opportunity presents itself.
Tomasso owns “Something Delicious” bake shop in Rochester, the same bake shop that was once owned by Food Network contestant Mina Hoyt.
That connection lead to him getting casting calls, which he almost missed.
“After purchasing the bakery, the previous owner had been on a couple of Food Network shows, so we were still continuing to get casting calls,” Tomasso said. “So, I applied, and I didn’t hear anything, and still didn’t hear anything, and then I realized my voicemail box was full, and I had missed a call from two weeks prior that I had been chosen to go on the next selection round, and I got a big huge text message saying ‘Phil you need to get back to us right now, we really want you,’ and I was like ‘Oh my God, I did it!’”
That Rochester connection — and the well-established reputation as a spot for foodies, pictures, pizza, and coffee — helped Tomasso prepare for the grueling 12 hour days. Food photography in restaurants: Rude or encouraged?
The show puts contestants through cooking, business, budget, and marketing challenges. Tomasso says that it’s like nothing he’s seen on reality TV before. Through the long days, he took away an important lesson about perseverance, and trusting one’s self.