JWU Student + Stroke Survivor Cooks with Emeril on ‘The Rachael Ray Show’

Cooking with Emeril, Alyssa Rosenthal + Rachael Ray

College of Food Innovation & Technology student Alyssa Rosenthal was only 3 weeks into her first year at JWU Providence when the unthinkable happened. One day in class she got dizzy and passed out. She woke up in the hospital. A blood clot had traveled from her heart to her brain, where it broke up in both hemispheres, resulting in seizures and multiple strokes. Her dream of becoming a chef like her idol Emeril Lagasse '78, '90 Hon. appeared to be over before it had even begun.

Alyssa took a medical leave of absence and began the road to recovery. Now nearly ready to return to school, she recently appeared on “The Rachael Ray Show” to tell her incredible story.

Alyssa appeared with her mom, Mara, who recounted the emotional upheaval of that day: “Alyssa had not even been at school for a month, and I got the worst phone call that any parent will ever receive, [saying], ‘Your child’s in the hospital, and you need to come up.’ And we [were] five hours away.”

“It was scary, because I was thinking things,” Alyssa explains, “but I couldn't repeat [them] to other people.”

“When she was in the hospital, she said, ‘I want to go back to school, Mom,’” Mara explained. “And I said, ‘I will get you there.’ And she’s going!”

Rachael set Alyssa up to cook a homey favorite, tri-tip with béarnaise, explaining that she’d tried to get Emeril on the show but things just didn’t align. “Ok, chef, will you start by separating some eggs for us?” While Alyssa was concentrating on the task, Emeril himself tapped her on the shoulder. Watch Alyssa’s incredible reaction in the video below:

But meeting Emeril was only the first surprise Rachael had in store. After Alyssa’s cooking session with Emeril, Rachael announced that the Yum-O! Organization, in partnership with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and ProStart, would be awarding her a $20,000 scholarship.

Alyssa can’t wait to return to campus in March. On Instagram, she wrote: “I am so blessed that I was able to meet and cook with Rachael and Emeril, two chefs that I’ve looked up to my entire life. I’m truly so grateful and I will never forget this amazing experience.”

Read all about Alyssa’s Rachael Ray Show appearance here — and watch her cook with Emeril here.



Rachael Ray, Alyssa Rosenthal, Emeril Lagasse, Mara Rosenthal on the Rachael Ray Show, Feb. 20, 2020 | Photo: David M. Russell/Rachael Ray Show

JWU student Alyssa Rosenthal cooking with Emeril on the Rachael Ray Show | Photo: David M. Russell/Rachael Ray Show