PhillyBite's Amanda Hafto, had the pleasure of speaking with Philadelphia’s very own Chef Christine Hazel. Her enthusiasm and love for food was undeniable even over the phone.
Christine has a natural ability for cooking which is evident through the creativity and versatile tastes in her dishes. Prior to completing her culinary degree and taking on the title of chef, Christine competed on season 14 and finished in the top 9 of Hell’s Kitchen under the direction of the famous Chef Gordon Ramsey. Since then, she has graduated culinary school, been invited to cater many prestigious events, and even started her own private chef and catering business.
Just recently, Christine has joined 980 Hot Sauces as the new chef to create recipes for dishes that she hopes will become a staple in everyone’s kitchen. Her recipes will be featured online and are geared toward tailgating, BBQing, and on the go meals. Christine will also be a speaker for the upcoming New Jersey school nutrition board conference at the Tropicana in Atlantic City.
Chef Christine loves sharing her knowledge through private cooking classes held right in the home of her hosts. By teaching others to cook and experiment with new ingredients, she is also encouraging her students to leave their comfort zones when it comes to food. The most important thing to Christine is that all of her hosts and their guests enjoy the food just as much as she does and to always offer something new and original while giving them a different perspective on food. Chef Christine is most inspired by smells, tastes, and sights of ingredients allowing her to put her artistic mind to work creating the best dish imaginable. She keeps multiple note pads with her to write down ideas since inspiration can strike at any time, even in the middle of the night! When creating a new dish, Christine’s priority is to make sure it is perfectly balanced with the right textures, flavors, and ingredients.
Christine’s private chef business is very unique in that there is no room for a set or prefabricated menu selection. The menu creation process includes a consultation with the host to find out what types of food they enjoy most and what the theme of the party will be. After the consultation, Christine then creates and presents an innovative menu personal to the host’s wishes. The latest private event that she was very excited to discuss, was a Philly Meets Cali(fornia) party. Of course, being a Philadelphia local, Christine knows the ins and outs of Philly foods, but had her work cut out for her to come up some inventive California dishes for all to love. The menu consisted of authentic Philly dishes such as mini cheesesteak eggrolls, however the real invention was the genius crafting of a fried pork roll and cream cheese fritter with Herr’s Potato Chip crust! The Cali dishes included freshly made California sushi rolls and delicious looking fish tacos. All of the menu items turned out to be a huge hit and the party was an overall success.
Chef Christine mentioned her future goals include writing a fun, practical, and creative cookbook (e-book) to share her recipes with the world. She also plans to travel around the world cooking for others and one day maybe even host her own cooking show. For now, Christine continues building her business and gaining social media followers to share her experiences, recipes, and knowledge with. Her achievements, dedication, passion, and humbleness are truly inspiring to the food community and all who know her personally. Follow Chef Christine Hazel on Instagram and twitter for weekly food posts and to see what she is up to!