Chef Rochelle Burgess competing in the Carla Hall Presents Favorite Chef


You may have seen Chef Rochelle Burgess in Chopped–a cooking competition show– and is now in the people choice competition through the Carla Hall Presents Favorite Chef. 

“If I do end up winning, it is a $25,000 prize and it’s also a two-page spread in Taste of Home magazine that again in itself would open a lot of doors for me,” Burgess said. “And the $25,000 would really help me in my goal to start a restaurant, ultimately.”

The Carla Hall Presents Favorite Chef is an online cooking competition. According to Burgess, anyone can enter it is not just for chefs it’s for home cooks and hobbyists as well. If selected as the winner, Burgess hopes to open her own restaurant and provide exquisite multicultural cuisines. 

“You can go to to vote and voting is you can vote once a day and I believe that if you want to vote more than once a day, you can pay for it,” Burgess said. “Which is where the donation part of the fundraiser is because it’s also a fundraiser and the organization that the money goes to is the James Beard Foundation. Which also means a lot to me.”

The additional paid donation for voting if people vote more than once a day will go towards the James Beard Foundation. Voting once a day is free. Burgess mentions that the foundation is “focused on turning the food industry around in a way that is more inclusive and it’s not just white men winning awards. Recently, Mashama Bailey. [who] is one of my food idols, was nominated and won Best Chef.”

Burgess was born in Jamaica and raised in Queens, New York, and moved to Humboldt County from Brooklyn about a year ago. Her culinary expertise consists of attending the Institute of Culinary Education in New York where Burgess obtained a degree in pastry and baking arts. Burgess has a thriving background when it comes to culinary arts and has worked in notable chef’s kitchens including Daniel Boulud, Dale Talde, Tom Collichio and more. 

“I grew up with a single mom and so she was always at work and so you kind of have to figure out how to do stuff by yourself. I don’t have any siblings, so it was just kind of me all the time, so, you know, I cooked for myself,” Burgess said. “I would like chop up apple peels and stuff and practice my knife skills. It wasn’t until I was 16 that my mom discovered that I could cook because I refused to cook for anyone for a while and it was just my little secret that I could do this thing.”

Her skillful cooking secret unraveled when she cooked for her mother and made her a turkey burger that Burgess mentions that her mother still talks about today, “she calls it the best burger she’s ever had in her whole life,” she said. That moment for Burgess was validating and reassuring that she is a natural cook and was ready to share it with the world. 

Outside of competing in cooking shows and other cooking recognitions, Burgess has her personal chef and dinner party service business called Fancy Rachel. It is based on each person’s dietary restrictions and choosing of the menu, she says that she even plans weekly dinners and meal plans for clients. 

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