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Alex Guarnaschelli & Decade Younger Fiancé Split ⁠— He Proposed after Her Kid from Her First Marriage Approved

Gaone Pule
May 20, 2022
08:20 P.M.
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Throughout her adult life, "The Kitchen" star Alex Guarnaschelli worked tirelessly in restaurants and made no time for romance. Things changed when she met her future spouse Brandon Clark, but their age difference bothered her.


American chef Alex Guarnaschelli admitted to The New York Times in May 2007 that self-control was the most challenging thing for her when it came to her passion for food.

She devoted 80 hours a week working in kitchens from Guy Savoy in Paris to Daniel in New York. With that said, her love life suffered, and settling down seemed impossible.

Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli and guest arriving at An Evening of Practical Magic at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 22, 2009 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images


"I bent my head over a stove in my early 20's and picked it up in my 30's," Guarnaschelli revealed. However, that all changed when she met her future spouse, Brandon Clark, in 2006. At the time, she taught a fish class at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.

Clark's initial impression of Guarnaschelli was that "she was hilarious." He was a student in her class then and a personal injury lawyer. Clark said while some students found his future wife intimidating, for him, it was the opposite:

"Some people found her intimidating. I found her funny, playful, exciting, and adorable."

Alex Guarnaschelli during the 11th Annual New York Taste at Skylight on November 2, 2009 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images


Though Clark knew that he was attracted to the Missouri native, he did not want it to be obvious to avoid mixing business with pleasure. Regardless, the pair met up for lunch at Union Square Café, where their bond developed. From that meetup, things between Guarnaschelli and Clark moved swiftly.

She hesitated to tell the staff about her newfound romance with him back at work, fearing their nine-year age difference. "It's criminal to steal someones 20's from them," said Guarnaschelli, adding that she encouraged Clark to find someone his age:

"I kept saying to him, ‘You’re too young."



Though the "Alex vs. America" star attempted to convince Clark to date other women and have kids with a peer, he desired to start a family with her instead. He told her that he wanted her to be the mother of his child and to become his wife:

"He was like, 'I think you should get pregnant, and I think we should get married.' I was like, 'okay.'"

The couple ultimately married in 2007 and became parents when they welcomed their only child together, a daughter named Ava, in August 2004.


Guarnaschelli gushed about how fulfilled her life was to "have a baby girl and a great husband. And a job I really enjoy." She described birthing her child as one of the "most gratifying" moments.

But her time with Clark did not last forever because their marriage ended in divorce in 2015. Guarnaschelli, an executive chef and NYC's Butter restaurant, became a single mother raising her now teenage daughter.

The mom of one admitted to E! News in August 2020 that she had had some challenging moments living with her child alone one winter night. When Ava was still an infant, she had a high fever, and her mother was at odds about how she should handle the situation.


Guarnaschelli stood in her apartment, not knowing whether to put her baby down and leave her alone to get the medicine for her fever. But at the same time, the fearful mom could not risk leaving her child unattended. She then asked herself whether to take her along in the cold.

The Food Network star found herself at crossroads that night, reflecting on it; it was not a win-win situation. "The answer was there is no answer because I was limited by the resources I had at that moment," Guarnaschelli said, adding it could have been worse if she had been in a rural community.

The "Chopped" judge also recounted days after leaving the hospital with her baby daughter, feeling anxious, exhausted, and knowing she had no idea what she was doing. She deprived herself of sleep because she was constantly checking on Ava, fearing she might stop breathing.


Guarnaschelli called her father, John Guarnaschelli, telling him that his grandchild would be fine except for her. John reminded her helpless daughter and said to her that Ava also had a will to live and would need help from her mother. That is all it took for her to pull herself together.

"I'm honestly happy to be home with her," said Guarnaschelli. What she also found helpful as a single mom was watching "The Wizard of Oz" with her daughter.

"Watching 'The Wizard of Oz' together and using it as a larger metaphor for good people and bad people and what kind of person you're going to be, because every character represents a quality in one person, she stated.


Alex Guarnaschelli during the Grand Tasting at Pier 94 on October 14, 2018 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

As for what she has learned about her child over the past decade-plus, Guarnaschelli divulged she finds the good in every day when spending time with Ava, "I look for it," she added.


"The Cooking Loft" star revealed her daughter is the "best kid ever," an achievement that she is most proud of and is exceptionally skilled in the kitchen.


NYCWFF founder Lee Schrager, Valerie Bertinelli, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Michael Castellon during the Food Network's rooftop birthday party at Pier 92 on October 13, 2018 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images


As a doting single mother, Guarnaschelli found love again when she met chef Michael Castellon when she was out to dinner with a pal at the restaurant where he worked.

She knew the waiter at the place and commented on the excellent food he served. "I said, 'This steak is just so good.'" The waiter was pleased to hear that and mentioned that his friend was the cook and is the chef at the said restaurant, telling her, "He's amazing. You got to meet him." So, she went and revealed:

"I went in to meet him and tell him the steak was delicious, and that was it."


Of Castellon, Guarnaschelli revealed that he is a jokester, sharing that he pranked her one time, saying the house's roof fell. She would hurry home and find that he was merely making fun of her and got a kick out of it. "He can tell me anything, and I'll believe him because I'm sort of a sucker," she admitted.

Castellon used the same trick, utilizing her gullibility to propose after four years of dating. Guarnaschelli shared the story with People in June 2020.

When the pair were driving home from the grocery one day, Castellon pulled the car over, claiming that he saw a stray dog. They were right by Guarnaschelli's house, and her then-boyfriend pulled over on the side of the road anxiously.


Alex Guamaschelli and daughter Ava Clark during the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival at the Institute of Culinary Education on October 12, 2018 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

He told her that he saw a dog running around without a leash at a park with a windmill. Castellon left his then-girlfriend in the car to go and see the animal and came running back, telling her it was a baby deer.


Castellon convinced her to go and see, telling her not to make a sound. In her mind, Guarnaschelli was thinking of calling animal welfare. So, they tip-toed, and he told her the said animal was right around the windmill, asking her if she saw it. "And I'm like, 'No, where's the baby? You promised me a baby deer."

Castellon then said to her that there was no baby deer. When Guarnaschelli turned, she found him on one knee and told her, "'This is why I have to marry you because you just believe me every time,' she recalled, adding he asked her to marry him and gave her a ring.

Alex Guarnaschelli and guest attending the Food Bank For New York City Can-Do Awards Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street on April 16, 2019 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images


Guarnaschelli told People that her fiance had asked permission from her daughter Ava to marry her one day. When she finally broke the news to her, the then-12-year-old said:

"All right. I mean, I guess you can, Mom."

Alex Guarnaschelli pictured on stage at the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival at Pier 94 on October 15, 2016 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images


The "All-Star Academy" star revealed the ring Castellon proposed with was a family heirloom that features an emerald green rock.

At the time of their engagement announcement, Guaranaschelli shared they were not in a hurry to walk down the aisle but wanted a big wedding celebration. "I want to have a blowout. I want a tri-state ranger," she said.



Despite being in a happy relationship, Guarnaschelli and Castellon split, ending their five-year relationship, Closer Weekly reported in February 2022.

In a statement following their breakup, Castellon revealed that he wished nothing but the best for "The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart," author.

Alex Guarnaschelli during the 10th Annual Stand Up For Heroes Show at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 2016 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images


The duo's separation came nearly two years after getting engaged in June 2020. Guarnaschelli deleted all photos of her and Castellon on Instagram, including one with the ring he gave her.

Asked how she was coping with the breakup from her now-ex-fiance, the cookbook author confessed that she was struggling, "If I'm honest, poorly."

Alex Guarnaschelli at the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village during the 2015 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival at Grand Tasting Village on February 22, 2015 in Miami Beach, Florida. / Source: Getty Images

When asked during an Instagram Q&A whether she had any life regrets, Guarnaschelli said: "Some of my biggest regrets have only happened in the last couple of years."

The renowned chef divulged that she had not been able to process them all well or gracefully, adding for healing, she uses cooking, therapy, and exercise, among others.