Heather Dombrosky

heather in the kitchen heather in her kitchen
Heather Dombrosky, B.S.N. '01
UM Nursing Alumna and Miami Native Heather Dombrosky will be a part of the 8th Season of Masterchef.

For as long as Heather Dombrosky can remember, she’s looked at food as the fabric that weaves us together; a nourishing gesture of love. That high level of compassion led Dombrosky to the University of Miami to pursue a degree in nursing – she graduated with her BSN in 2001. Now, a nurse educator at Columbia University Hospital in New York, her flair for food has landed Dombrosky a prime spot as a competitor on the FOX network reality TV show Masterchef Season 8

Heather teaching nursesThe connection between nursing and food has flourished in Dombrosky, as she frequently travels around the world building connections through nurse education, nutrition and cultural exploration. “With nursing, I heal with my hands,” said Dombrosky. “Nursing involves plenty of tactile motions used to heal and allay pain with my patients, much the same as it is with cooking for my loved ones, nourishing them with food that I’ve carefully planned out. I cook with love; I don’t know any other way.” As a Miami native, Dombrosky’s flavor for food is influenced by her Peruvian heritage. “I grew up fishing with my father and making fresh ceviche with my mother; food was always the way we connected.”

We caught up with Dombrosky via email in NYC, as she eagerly awaits the premiere of the show airing Wednesday, May 31st, to learn a little more about her culinary journey.

UM Alumni: Growing up in Miami, why did you choose the U? 

Dombrosky: I took my studies seriously and wanted the challenge of strong academics with encouraging professors to lay the groundwork for my nursing profession. I knew that the Nursing School at UM had all of these things, and once I learned about the school’s history, diversity, and beautiful open campus, I knew I wanted to go there. Having grown up in Miami, it was also a great support to have my family nearby during the four years that I attended UM. 

UM Alumni: How did you find your way into the Nursing profession?

Dombrosky: I have gravitated towards science ever since I was a little girl. As a kid, I used to nurse hurt animals I found in my yard and I experienced a heartfelt enjoyment from healing the ailing and possibly helping to ease their suffering. Nurturing was second nature for me, and as I learned more about the nursing profession while growing up, I knew I could harness my ingrained qualities into a lifelong profession while making a difference in people's lives. 

UM Alumni: How do your parents influence your love of food?

Dombrosky: Food always brought - and continues to bring - my family together. My mother is a fantastic cook and I always looked forward to the freshly speared fish and shellfish my dad would bring in from his fishing trips, which she would make into tasty creations, my favorite being ceviche. My mom is Peruvian, so ceviche is one of her areas of expertise! My sister and I would collect ingredients like cilantro and peppers from our backyard and as my mother incorporated them into her meals, she would tell us stories about her family back in Peru and how they cooked their meals.

Heather teaching nurses

Dombrosky describes the time spent testing her skills cooking and competing on the show as challenging, yet inspiring. “This experience proved that I should follow my dreams and to continue to challenge myself,” Dombrosky said. “I wanted to be on the show and I was going to do whatever it took to get there, but I also stuck to my guns and was kind to myself no matter how hot it got in the kitchen. Perseverance paid off!”

The season promises to be exciting, as the elite chefs compete amongst a flurry of harsh criticism from well-known host Gordon Ramsey. “Gordon definitely has a reputation for being demanding of chefs, and he definitely was, but everyone also had a lot of fun on set and you can see that in the moments where we got to goof around a bit and blow off some steam,” Dombrosky said. “You'll have to tune in and watch to see what happens!”

Tune in May 31 at 8pm to catch Dombrosky in action.