Medina native Rado competing on ‘Amazing Race’
Former Dominic’s, Jojo’s cook cast for the upcoming season
Photo by MONTY BRINTON/CBS BROADCASTING, INC.
“The Amazing Race” returns this season March 30 with a race unlike any before, including Medina native Mike Rado as a contestant.
By KEVIN MCMANUS The Post editor
MEDINA – You’ve got cops, veterans, athletes, models and real estate agents – and then there’s Mike Rado, the burly butcher with a big beard and a bunch of tattoos.
Rado, 37, who grew up in Medina, will appear on season 29 of CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” the uber-popular reality TV competition pitting 11 teams of two in a scavenger-hunt-like race around the world.
“It’s the chance of a lifetime,” Rado, a 1996 Medina High School graduate, said. “I’ve always watched it. I’ve loved it for years and years.”
The season premiere is Thursday, March 30 at 10 p.m. eastern – and you’d better believe they’ll be watching on the big screens down at Jojo’s on South Jefferson Street in Medina.
Although Rado hails from Pittsburgh these days – he and his wife, Katie, own Butcher on Butler in Lawrenceville on the city’s northeast side – Rado is a former cook of several years at Jojo’s Sports Bar & Grille, as well as the attached Dominic’s Pizzera & Italian Restaurant.
Jojo’s is hosting “The Amazing Race” watch parties for both episode 1 and episode 2 on April 5, the latter of which Rado said he will be in attendance for.
“I’ve known the Carrinos forever,” Rado said of the family that owns both establishments. “Dino, Ma’ Betty – the whole crew. They’re like a second family to me, always had a job for me, always supportive. The crew there is where I learned to properly cook.”
Season 29 of “The Amazing Race” was filmed last summer during a period of three weeks. Stepping off from Los Angeles, this season will span nine countries, 17 cities and 36,000 miles, a CBS spokeswoman said.
The shtick this time is each contestant is a stranger to each other, different from previous races where the duos typically audition together.
“I think it was fantastic, the chemistry we developed,” Rado said of his teammate, who could not be revealed ahead of the premier. “Everyone was so kind and welcoming, every cast mate was so cool ... some of the closest bonds I’ll ever have.”
Rado – who “on paper” considers himself one of the more unorthodox of the 22 contestants – didn’t even have to audition for the spot on what he says is one of his favorite TV shows.
Flexing his meaty culinary muscles on Esquire TV’s “The Next Best Burger” in 2015, that appearance grabbed the attention of a third-party casting agency that approached Rado with the idea of appearing on “The Amazing Race.”
“They asked me if I had ever heard of it. I said, ‘You’re kidding; get outta here.’ Since the show’s inception, I wanted to be on it,” Rado said. “It’s the only network reality show I was truly ever interested in.”
Rado said the experience was monumental because of the fast-paced traveling through different cultures.
“You’re coming in, working, respecting cultures and learning. That’s what I liked about it,” he said. “If you get a chance to travel the world like that, do it.”
Although he knows his own outcome, as well as the outcome of season 29, both of which CBS required Rado to keep quiet on, he has no idea what footage will actually be used when the episodes air.
“You say a lot of things in the heat of the moment when you’re hungry, dehydrated and sleep-deprived,” he said. “The biggest reason to watch is the dynamic of 22 strangers on this fantastic voyage and forming that tight bond, very unique and organic.”http://html5.pagesuite.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=9443e515-198b-4e1a-879d-6f34a249be62