Vic Vegas moved to Las Vegas at age 14 and has called the city home since then. After several years of jobs, Vic Vegas comes full circle with the opening of his 7 Sinful Subs shop on Maryland Parkway a few doors down from where he started his culinary journey.

Vic started his culinary career at the now closed Tom & Jerry’s Grub & Pub which was located on Maryland Parkway near UNLV. He was a dishwasher. He subsequently worked at several places in Las Vegas. He worked hard and learned what he could at each restaurant and bar, but he says he knew he wanted a career in culinary the first time he walked into the kitchen at Ferraro’s. Vic Vegas has never been to culinary school, but has had plenty of on-the-job training. With each restaurant and every position in the kitchen, he learned something new. When I used the term “self-taught,” he gently corrected me and said, “No, I am not self-taught. I am self-inspired. I had the desire and other people taught me.” For me, that is a really telling statement. He credits all of the chefs, cooks and staff he has worked with over the years with helping him to become the person he is today. He never says he did it himself.

I first learned of Vic Vegas when he appeared on the TV show, Next Food Network Star. And like many Las Vegans, I cheered him on and rooted for him to win. He didn’t win, but that show shifted his life and his career began to snowball. He said he had applied to the show numerous times and the one time he didn’t send in his application was the time they called him and said they wanted him. He quit his job at the Rumor Hotel to film the show and has never looked back.

The most surprising thing about Vic is that although he has always worked, and worked hard, he was, at one time homeless. After splitting with his ex, he moved out of his home, and continued to pay the bills, so his kids would have a safe place to live. He couldn’t afford two places, so he couch surfed and lived on the streets until he could make all the ends meet. This was shortly before we all saw him on Next Food Network Star. Since the airing of that season, his life has changed drastically as you can probably imagine. Despite his celebrity, he is a private person and though we are friends, was somewhat reluctant to sit with me for this interview, because he knew it would be about more than the shop and his career.

One of the things that makes Vic Vegas special is that no matter how busy he is, he continues to make time for the important things. Family is everything to Vic and his friends are a close second. He also makes time to give back to the community. He’s actively involved in St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City. He volunteers for Three Square Food Bank and the day I met him for this interview, he was appearing as a local celebrity at a fundraiser for a child with cancer that was being held at a local pizzeria. Unlike some, he knows with celebrity comes public expectations and a responsibility to give back. He doesn’t look at it as a burden, but as a gift to share what he has been given in his life.

When you go to 7 Sinful Subs, you may not see Vic Vegas. Don’t be disappointed. He’s a busy guy! You can catch Vic on episodes of Bar Rescue on Spike TV he is part of a team that goes into struggling bars with food programs to help them move their business forward. In addition to the sub shop, he works as a culinary consultant with Nicholas & Co. food distributors. And, as if he wasn’t busy enough, he’s getting ready to launch additional locations of 7 Sinful Subs locations to be determined. What you can expect when you walk into 7 Sinful Subs is what I like to call Classic Italian Subs with a Vegas twist. Clever sandwich and salad names, combined with interesting artwork round out the theme. The subs are fantastic! 7 Sinful Subs is located at 4632 S Maryland Pkwy #12, Las Vegas, across from UNLV. They open daily at 11 a.m.