Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli has worked her way up the culinary ranks to become one of the most popular chefs in the world. The cookbook author’s proudest achievement is being a mother to her adorable daughter, Ava Clark, whom she shares with her ex-husband, Brandon Clark. Though Alex and Brandon are no longer together, they are dedicated to coparenting their only child.
Alex began working in restaurants once she graduated from college in 1991. She spent 80 hours a week in the kitchen, mastering Michelin star-worthy dishes and proving that she was a force to be reckoned with. The Alex vs. America star worked everywhere from France to New York, never expecting to fall in love in the process. She met Brandon in 2006 when she was teaching a class at the Institue of Culinary Education.
“I thought she was hilarious,” he told the New York Times in May 2007. “Some people found her intimidating. I found her funny, playful, exciting and adorable.”
Brandon was working as a personal injury lawyer in New York when he met the Food Network maven. His interest in cooking continued to grow, resulting in him getting a job at Butter where Alex worked as the head chef. The pair grew close as they began to spend more time together mastering culinary classics. After an accident in the kitchen that led to a finger injury, Brandon decided against a full-time cooking career. He instead wanted to pursue his passion for music and guitar playing.
Even though Brandon stepped away from the kitchen, his love for Alex continued to grow to new heights. The couple were married at Butter, the place where their romance first blossomed on April 29, 2007. Alex was pregnant with Ava at the time of their wedding. The Kitchen host gave birth to her only child on September 24, 2007, and began adjusting to life as a working mom.
“There’s been a certain way that I’ve been totally manically focused on my career and yet, let the tide take me, sometimes,” Alex shared in an October 2007 interview after giving birth. “Now I have a baby girl and a really great husband. And a job I really enjoy. But there was a lot of work and a lot of moments where I was like, ‘Am I crazy?’ And there’s no one to ask if you’re crazy, other than your parents, who are crazy anyway.”
Alex and Brandon divorced in 2015. Despite their romantic relationship coming to an end, Alex has posted photos from several family dinners together on Instagram. Whether it’s coming over to hang out with Ava or celebrate one of her many achievements, Brandon is always all smiles when pictured with his daughter.
The Supermarket Stakeout star began dating chef Michael Castellon after the divorce. The Chopped champion proposed to Alex with an emerald ring on her birthday in June 2020. In an interview with People after the proposal, Alex revealed Ava’s reaction to the news. “I said, ‘He asked me to marry him.’ And she goes, ‘All right. I mean, I guess you can, Mom,’” the celebrity chef shared.
In February 2022, Closer exclusively confirmed that Michael and Alex split and ended their engagement after the pair removed their photos together off of Instagram. “Wishing her nothing but the best,” he told Closer in a statement following their breakup.