Despite his earlier claims of innocence, it looks like onetime Food Network chef Juan Carlos Cruz did in fact attempt to whip-up a major course of death for his wife.

He was known on Food as the Calorie Commando. But prosecutors said he was a would-be culinary killer. On Monday Cruz was sentenced to nine years behind bars for soliciting homeless men in Santa Monica to kill her.

However …

… TMZ reported that the wife was suicidal but could not kill herself as a result of her religious beliefs. So was Juan Carlos trying to do her a favor?

Not sure. But he took a plea deal from the District Attorney's office, meaning a count of attempted murder was taken off the table.

Santa Monica police arrested the chef in May after they were approached by a homeless man who said the chef tried to hire them to do the deed.

According to a D.A.'s statement issued Monday:

One of the men contacted the Santa Monica Police Department. Police set up a sting and videotaped Cruz arranging the murder with the men, including driving one to his apartment and showing him how to access the secure building.

According to prosecutors Juan Carlos offered up only $500 for the job.

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