MIAMI – Celebrity TV Chef Ralph Pagano is known for his vibrant personality and passion for food, and Thursday marks the beginning of his comeback to cooking.
After spending 50 days in the hospital, Pagano went home on Thursday.
Pagano suffered burns over 30 percent of his body during a kitchen explosion while he was opening his new restaurant in Bimini.
He was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center's UM Jackson Memorial Burn Unit, where he has undergone four painful skin grafts, mainly to his hands, arms, legs and face.
He has also undergone occupational and physical therapy to regain the use of his hands and his ability to walk again.
From the very start, Pagano had an amazing attitude about his recovery and the horrific accident.
"I was in a gas explosion. My hands were on fire, my shirt was on fire, my pants were on fire," Pagano said after the incident. "I'm going to need skin grafts and about a month in the hospital, but I am alive."
While receiving the best burn care available, the chef's doctor gives the healing credit to the patient.
"His continued optimism, his upbeat attitude really is what got him through a difficult time, and it really did bring out the best in our guys here," the burn center's medical director, Louis Pizano, said.
While Pagano might have lost his ability to cook for now, he certainly didn't lose his sense of humor when asked how the hospital food was.
"The food was good," Pagano said. "I had it delivered from Naked Lunch and Naked Taco everyday."
Pagano left the hospital Thursday afternoon and will continue his recovery at home.