Chef Tara in the House

When watching Chopped, it’s a good episode when three things happen: 1) clever basket items, 2) playful banter between Ted Allen and the judges, and 3) contestants who make you laugh throughout the episode. A recent episode featuring Chef TK Singleton certainly delivered. Read on to learn more about the colorful chef.

Chef Tara Singleton
Chef Tara Singleton

FP: How did you get your start with cooking?

TKS: I was born in San Antonio, Texas; raised in Lompoc, California; and trained in New York City. These past 10 years prepared me for my passion and purpose of feeding folk thru food and laughter.

I started my catering business seven years ago in NYC. Wendy Williams gave me my first shot at catering. I have no formal training, just watched my grandmother Mrs. Odessa Gilmore of Lompoc, CA since I was 5 years old. Growing up in a small town we didn’t have but a few good places to eat. Everyone always cooked at home and had get togethers. There’s only one place I eat when I’m in Lompoc a place called Jalama Cafe other than that I’m always in the kitchen. My dream is to open a soul food spot in my hometown.

At the end of the day I am still a caterer and regardless of sleep or outside interest I provide a service to my clients. I am a bi-coastal caterer so my clients fly me wherever they need me.

FP: Sounds like you’ve really turned your dreams into reality! Tell us about your experience on Chopped.

TKS: My experience on Chopped was so much fun. It basically was me in the kitchen everyday like I am with my crew except there were cameras. What you saw is who I am. I am the trash talking Chef in and out of the kitchen. That particular day I was extremely tired because I catered a 14 hour shoot in NYC with Shaun T, my favorite favorite client. So from there I went to the Chopped studios and did another 10 hour day. So I didn’t sleep for almost two days. I couldn’t believe I made it to the finals, it was crazy.

I love the Chopped folk! They told me to be myself, well I’m too old to be anyone else.  My first love is Stand up comedy so I guess it’s crossed over into my cooking.

FP: With your bicoastal nature, what are some of the places you visit most often?

TKS: I travel quite a bit. I’m always in Vermont, LA or NYC. My youngest son goes to boarding school in Vermont so I’m always up at his school cooking for him and his dorm buddies.

FP: Your son and his buddies must be happy when you come to town! What have you been up to since Chopped?

TKS: Besides doing different promos for the show Chopped these past few weeks I had been catering a 24 day shoot in LA for NBC with only one day off 15 hour days. I have catered so many projects too many stories to tell. I am presently signed with a company called 51 Minds and have a show in development not sure if it’s reality or not whatever it is it won’t be scripted I’ve already told them I have to be my authentic self.

FP: What inspires you to do the work that you do?

TKS: I do what I do for my 3 sons (Dante- 22, Ricky- 21 and Jacob- 11); creating a Generational Legacy. Also for black single mothers who are struggling cause believe me it’s been a struggle but I know it’s my time!  Hard work does pay off!!

FP: Thanks for your time, Chef TK! We can’t wait to what great things the future has in store for you.

Learn more about Chef Tara’s catering services on her website

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