CHATTANOOGA, TN — Two years ago Tanorria Askew was a home cook, working in Chattanooga at a local credit union. Her whole life changed for the better when she was a contestant on the Fox Network’s hit show MasterChef, starring the master chef himself, Chef Gordon Ramsay. Tanorria walked away as the 4th best home cook in America. She won over producers, judges, and America with her southern culinary roots and sassy personality. Gordon Ramsay donned her shrimp and grits as the best shrimp and grits he’s ever had in the MasterChef kitchen!
Even though Tanorria didn’t win Season 7 of Masterchef, she’s become one of the ‘fan favorites’ contestants to participate in the upcoming CAMP MASTERCHEF events.
CAMP MASTERCHEF gives kids and teens the chance to experience MASTERCHEF JUNIOR first-hand. The one-week or two-week overnight camps with themed programming, will debut in two locations: Rabun-Gap, GA (June 3-July 28) and Kent, CT (June 17- August 11). Programming will include special competitions, hands-on cooking lessons, outdoor sports activities, interactive challenges and more. http://www.campmasterchef.com
Before Tanorria reports for duty at Camp Masterchef, we asked her 5 Questions about the camp and her amazing new career as a fulltime chef.
TRIBUNE: What is Camp Master Chef all about? TANORRIA: “It’s really cool. It’s giving younger kids and teenagers the opportunity to be in the kitchen to develop their cooking skills and to learn more about team work. and life skills, except they get to learn all of this by working with foods.
TRIBUNE: Will you be a team coach for the kids? TANORRIA: Some of us adult chefs will be there interacting with the kids, giving inspiration and advice to them. The camp is running from June until August. It’s going to be such a fun and wonderful event. Where was this when I was a kid? (she laughs) People have asked if Chef Ramsay will be at the camp or not. I’m not really sure. He’s such a busy person. He’s always doing so many amazing things, so I really don’t know if he will be there or not.
TRIBUNE: What has your life as a chef been like from all of the exposure you received from being on Season 7 of Master Chef? TANORRIA: OMG, it’s been the best/worst rollercoaster ride of my life! I’ve been enjoying every second of it. Right after my time on Master Chef, I quit my job of 15 years. I decided to become a full time personal chef, which is something I had already been doing on the side. I also now live in Indianapolis. But most of my family is still in Chattanooga and it’s definitely home for me but I’m now here in the good old Midwest. I was in Tennessee just two weeks ago visiting my parents. Trust me, Tennessee will always be home for me.
I’m doing media interviews with people like you. I’m on the radio, TV etc. I never dreamed that I would have these opportunities, and I’m really enjoying myself.
TRIBUNE: Was meeting and working with Chef Gordon Ramsay a nerve wracking experience as it looked on television or what?
TANORRIA: What people don’t realize is that Chef Ramsay is kind of dreamy (she laughs). You kind of get a little mesmerized by him…he has these amazing blue eyes. But seriously, we’re in the presence of greatness when he’s around. When he’s like critiquing your cooking and yelling at you, I would just go: ‘That’s genius! Why didn’t I think of that?’ I personally don’t take offense to how passionate he is about cooking. He’s giving us advice that’s a priceless learning opportunity for a new chef. But for me, it was never nerve wracking. It was always an eye-opening experience. I don’t really care what the man says, just as long as he’s teaching me. It was such an advantage on my part. If Chef Ramsay had something to say to me, it meant that I must have been doing something right because he wants to see me do better.
TRIBUNE: What is your favorite signature dish these days? TANORRIA: Due to my time on Master Chef, and Chef Ramsay giving me rave reviews about it, I will definitely say that my signature dish is now shrimp and grits. This is the dish that I’m now most known for. Whenever I do dinner parties, I make sure that shrimp and grits is a part of the menu. But my close friends and family always request for me to make my peach cobbler. A lot of time for dinner parties, I will do fried chicken and pickled watermelon as appetizers, with an entrée of shrimp and grits.
Dessert will be peach cobbler with salted caramel bourbon sauce. When people get that particular menu, you’re getting TANORRIA’s greatest hits. (http://tanorriastable.com/my-table/)