23 Aug Chelsea Sargent MasterChef and Houstonian
Chelsea Sargent MasterChef and Houstonian
Chelsea Sargent is one of America’s best home cooks according to Chef Gordon Ramsay, Chef Aaron Sanchez, and that judgy looking, bald, Italian dude whose name I can never remember.
(Chelsea Sargent MasterChef stuntin’ for the camera)
She’s one of a handful of Houstonians that made it to MasterChef on Fox, and she made it to the top 12! We met at a beer tasting one afternoon, and something about her just said good people.
Her cooking philosophy is pretty similar to our beer philosophy: simple, seasonal, fresh, and most important of all, local! (Yeah, we leveled up. We have a philosophy now – thanks Chelsea!)
Since Chelsea and Beer Chronicle share similar values on food and beer, we wanted to share a little of that with y’all.
My favorite things to use beer in are beer can chicken, ribs, chili, and cookies. Beer is an amazing ingredient in the kitchen.
Keep reading for more about her cooking, beer, and cooking with beer… or have her cook for you! Enjoy a corny meal of fresh corn tamales, grilled lettuce salad, ribeyes, and homemade corn ice cream alongside margaritas and Mexican beer. We’re not doing it justice at all, so check it out for yourself.
(Nothin’ too fancy – just a homecooked dinner at casa del Chelsea Sargent MasterChef)
DREAMING BIG, BEING IN LOVE, AND BEING A FOODIE
What got you started in cooking?
I got to live in several different countries. Growing up and seeing the different cultures and food that we ate in different places made me fall in love with food. I always wanted to know how different things are made!
What’s your cooking philosophy?
You do not have to cook super fancy complicated dishes. You just have to use fresh, local, seasonal, ingredients, so you can really enjoy and taste the ingredients.
Why did you decide to become a chef? What other back-of-the-house positions have you previously held?
I have been a dishwasher, prep cook, catering cook, banquet chef, and private chef. If it has to do with cooking, I can do it! I am always learning and studying food on my own. I will never stop growing as a chef!
Aside from the MasterChef on Fox, have you ever cooked somewhere where a chef blasted you like Ramsay does to people?
I worked at a small dive bar where it was just me and the head chef, and she actually blasted me louder then Gordon Ramsey. Chef Nikki was training me. She knew she had to be tough in the kitchen because our actions can affect someones health. You have to be clean and accurate in a kitchen.
(Can’t tell if Chef Gordon Ramsay’s roasting her or being nice here)
Is there any food you just hate!?
I am always willing to try anything, but I can be very disappointed when I go out to eat, and I can tell they just did not take their time; when the cook does not care how the food comes out. That hurts the culinary profession and the very little times I do eat out, I would hope to enjoy some good food!
What is your favorite cuisine?
My favorite cuisine is Middle Eastern. I enjoy the heavily spiced ground meets – the way they cook their proteins over a high flame – it reminds me of how I fell in love with food. I can cook Italian, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Greek. I am always studying and asking piers so I can learn what other people from other cultures go-to dishes are.
What’s your all time fav dish, and why?
Now my favorite dish of all time is homemade Ricotta Ravioli. It is so delicate the way it melts in your mouth, and it’s an amazing treat! I make homemade pastas a lot and fall more and more in love with the pastabilities!
(A world traveler, Chelsea Sargent MasterChef now calls Houston home)
CHELSEA SARGENT MASTERCHEF, WORLD TRAVELER, AND HOUSTONIAN
How’d you end up in Houston?
I was born in California and have lived all over the world due to my dads job. We always came back to Houston due to his job in the Oil Industry. I enjoy the food, the beer, and the people that make this city. I am proud to call it home.
How has living in Houston shaped your palette?
Houston is a melting pot and has amazing places to eat and shop for food! I once worked at Phoenicia, which specializes in Middle Eastern food, and that is one of my favorite places to shop because they cary fresh delicious ingredients. If you have the right ingredients you can always make something delicious!
What’s your fav restaurant in Houston?
My favorite Restaurant in Houston is my HOUSE! It is difficult for me to go to other places because it makes me wish that I cooked some times. Of course we still go out and I will get inspired by other dishes. Here in Houston we enjoy Aladdins Mediterranean Cuisine, Simply Pho, the Pit Room, and the original Liberty Kitchen.
Is there a chef you admire the most in Houston?
Chris Shepherd is a well known Houston chef and he deserves to be. He has amazing restaurants and changes the menu seasonally. It would be a dream to intern at one of his restaurants during a menu change.
(This softshell crab sammy would go HAM with some 7 Iron or 5 O’Clock Pils)
CATERING FOR HUNGRY HOUSTONIANS
So where do you cook?
I have cooked at many places, but now I am opening my own private catering company. I can’t wait to see how much more I can grow in this culinary world.
If people came away with just two thoughts about you and your food, what would you want them to be?
Fun and delicious. I think of myself as a very fun and happy person. When people eat my food I want them to leave feeling happy, loved, and well taken care of.
When you cook-for-hire, do you pull up with a trunk full of pots/pans, or do you make due with whatever’s in the client’s home?
If I am cooking off site, I always come with my own emergency kit. I will always bring supplies I know I need to get the job done.
How do you decide what to make?
I need to figure out what the event is for, how many, and if it is plated or Buffett before I can make a menu. Once I know this information and a price range I will ask the clients if they have anything in mind, and if not I will come up with a menu that will work for the event!
Where do you prefer to shop?
Shopping is everything for a successful dish! I will go out of my way to go to specialty food stores, the fish docks in Khema or Hmart in Katy if there is a ingredient that will make the dish complete.
(Chelsea Sargent MasterCheffin’ it up on Fox)
MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, LET’S TALK BEEEEEER
What’s your fav beer of all time to drink? To cook with?
Blanch De Bruxelles Beer to drink, and I love to cook with Modelo Especial and Lone Star, especially ribs.
What’s your fav Houston beer?
Saint Arnold Santo
8th Wonder Dome Faux’m
SpindleTap Houston Haze
Buffalo Bayou Summer’s Wit
I also love drinking sour beers.
What’s your favorite brewery to visit? Which one have you had your eye on, but you haven’t made it out there yet?
8th Wonder Brewery is one we visit a lot! Lone Pint is one I want to visit. SpindleTap is one I would like to visit as well.
Ok, so you’re prepping a big meal for all your friends. You’re sweating it out in the kitchen. What are you listening to? What are you drinking? What are you cooking? And what kind of beer is in the fridge for the homies!?
I am listening to Griz on my homepod, I always have Lone Star or Modelo in the fridge, and I love to make loaded steak nachos for my friends with some fresh chimichurri and homemade Queso.
(Cooking for Stew is the name of Chelsea’s catering business, but she’ll cook for you too.)
Chelsea’s a real gem, and Stew’s a lucky guy to have dinners like hers every night. If you want to eat like Stew and have a Chelsea Sargent MasterChef Meal, book a dinner with her. There are literally only a couple of dates open.
Beers to you, Houston!