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“Believe in yourself.” That’s what LaTasha McCutchen said without hesitation when asked what advice she had for someone hoping to make it big in the food industry.

Words well spoken from the woman who did just that and out-cooked her fellow competitors for the title of Head Chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill at Caesars Atlantic City. We watched the season finale at Caesars Atlantic City, while hanging with a few of the chefs on the show, including LaTasha McCutchen herself. There was an excitement in the room as fans, friends, and family members watched the outcome of Season 13.

It’s easy to say that women dominated this season, with three of the four finalists being female, but when LaTasha walked through the final door to victory, it was clear that the best chef had just won Hell’s Kitchen. LaTasha is consistent in and out of the kitchen, and stepped up as a leader on numerous occasions. As fellow Top Four finalist Sade Dancy said, “LaTasha is a kitchen ninja.” She lets her actions speak, rather than her words, and has multi-tasking skills like you’ve never seen before. While some chefs started to complain or bad mouth the competition, LaTasha stayed true to herself and kept a positive attitude, always trying to learn from mistakes.

So when we talked to LaTasha about her exciting win, we wondered if we would meet the same woman we saw on TV. It was an overwhelming YES! and then some. LaTasha’s excitement, passion, and humble nature was even stronger than on screen.  Obviously, staying true to herself and her skills as a chef made a huge impact on her win. “The proof is in the pudding,” she said about her winning competition strategy.

While LaTasha has been a student in the kitchen for 13 years, she’s ready to be the leader, bringing a balance of calm with the right mix of intensity. Through the competition, LaTasha said she learned just how well she works under pressure, loving the stress and feeding off the passion for food.

Inspired. That’s how we felt leaving the Caesars Atlantic City party. So, what’s the perfect mix to becoming a super successful executive chef? Seems like LaTasha’s recipe is the way to go: persistence mixed with strong skills, with slices of humility, and most importantly, simmered for a few hours with belief and trust in yourself. Can’t wait to see what’s to come from this master chef!

by Alison Magistrali