~ By Lisa Maria Boyles

Fresno State alumnus Alex Lawrence was declared the winner of “The Turkey Day Heroes” cooking competition during an episode of the Food Network program “Chopped” that aired Monday, Nov. 14.

Lawrence, who earned a degree in theatre arts in 2005, competed against three other soup kitchen representatives with the final episode filmed in January, which meant Lawrence kept the news a secret for the past 10 months until the broadcast this week.

“The entire experience of being on Chopped was so exciting,” said Lawrence, who has been an administrator for Trinity’s Services and Food for the Homeless in the East Village for several years. “As far as the competition part of the show goes, it is as real as it looks. They truly don’t tell you what is in the baskets, and the clock is really running down. There is no cheating, and no messing around.”

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From left, Alex Lawrence and Cody Andrus.

Lawrence met his husband, Cody Andrus, while they both attended Fresno State. Andrus was also a Theatre Arts graduate (Class of 2006).

They moved to New York together after they both finished college. In addition to acting, Lawrence took a job as a choir director at a church, which ultimately led to a role as administrative director for the emergency feeding program the church runs – Trinity’s Services and Food for the Homeless.  Andrus is the associate marketing director at Lincoln Center Theatre.

When “Chopped” reached out to soup kitchens in New York City, Lawrence jumped at the chance to participate.

“I loved being able to flex my creative muscle and come up with something out of nothing,” he said. “As an artist, that’s what you’re doing all the time. And food is a really cool in that the creativity part just happens to be a really awesome art that you can literally consume!”

Lawrence and Andrus stay connected with other fellow Fresno State graduates, even across the country. 

“Some Fresno State alum will be coming to my apartment in Harlem for ‘friendsgiving.'” Lawrence said. “I really found supportive faculty and an even more amazing group of students at Fresno State.”

Upcoming airings of the “Turkey Day Heroes” episode of “Chopped” can be found here.