The personal chef appeared as a contestant on the TV cooking competition Hell’s Kitchen: Battle of the Ages last fall.
How did it feel to be selected?
I couldn’t believe they wanted me. I’m just a Midwestern mom with a dream.
What drew you to the show?
Chef Christina—Chef Ramsay’s sous chef and winner of season 10—is my chef hero. Getting to meet her was a real life-changing moment for me.
What was it like to be on the set?
Obviously meeting Chef Ramsay was the most incredible experience, but it was so surreal.
What lessons did you learn from your appearance on the show?
So many. I honestly came back a very different person. Whether it’s work, TV appearances, interviews, speeches, I do not fear anything.
What was your best dish?
I won Best Dish of the Day. In our challenge—where we had to use a wok to create our whole dish—I made a poached snapper with a miso shittake broth. Chef Ramsay and Chef Stephanie Izard, who owns Little Goat in Chicago, loved it.
Do you keep in touch with anyone from the show?
I talk to every single person on the show nearly every day. Alex [Belew, who went on to win the competition] said, “I miss you all terribly. It’s like a bad breakup I can’t shake.” He’s totally right. The cast have all become family.