Interview: Look Who's Cooking!

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GENERAL HOSPITAL's Dr. Matt Hunter might be spending his days behind bars, but his former portrayer, Jason Cook, has been globetrotting as part of his efforts to create a meaningful, unscripted program called LifeCHANGE. Together with his partners, Arianne Zucker (Nicole, DAYS OF OUR LIVES), her brother, Todd Zucker, and Steve Fenske, he traveled to Middleburg, South Africa, recently to collaborate with Africa Rising (which was founded by two grandsons of former President Nelson Mandela) and The Thirst Project. While there, the group put two young people from America and two from South Africa through their LifeCHANGE Leadership Program. Then they took the participants to Swaziland where they had an opportunity to help improve local access to clean drinking water. "I had always done charity work before and outreach projects with my church while growing up," offers Cook, who is serving as both director and executive producer of the show. "I'm incredibly proud to be a part of this project."

Read more after the jump!

In two weeks, Cook will head to Hong Kong in preparation for LifeCHANGE ASIA, which the group is hoping to stage next. "We'd like to take it to every continent. Our goal is to make the world a smaller place and mash cultures together like the international food carts in Portland!" he chuckles. "While I'm there, I will be hosting the Miss World pageant again. It's in Ordos, China [on Saturday August 18], and it's a nice tie-in because many of the contestants share a lot of the same goals and feelings about making a difference in the world."

While LifeCHANGE has not yet found a network home, fans can learn more about it (and the associated leadership training program) by visiting www.officiallifechange.org. "Or visit @lifeCHANGEtv for our Twitter updates," Cooks suggests.

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On The Other Burner...
As if his extensive travel plans weren't enough reason to need to walk away from playing GH's Matt right now, Cook's also got another show in the works. "I'm producing, writing, and directing a new program called CHOP THIS," the multi-faceted guy reveals. "Each week it will focus on a new restaurant where the chef shows us their most popular dish. We're shooting the second episode next week, and then we're planning to shoot the whole first season." (For updates about CHOP THIS, visit chopthis.com)

Might Cook someday be enticed to put Matt's lab coat back on again? "I liked that he wasn't a leading character. He was more of the sidekick, so I could have fun with him, like I did when he got drunk," Cook says of the experience. "[However,] I have not even considered returning. I mean, I do miss my bike ride into work and the people there, but I'm really focused elsewhere right now."

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