June 18, 2014

By: Helena Stallings, Culinary Arts Student

It’s clear when speaking to Leah Eveleigh that her passion for cooking is almost tangible. Simply by mentioning school uniforms, knife kits and kitchens makes her eyes light up and for this home cook turned Food Network star, the real fun has just started. Eveleigh’s culinary history is mainly rooted in asian cuisines as a home cook, but in 2003 she wanted to take her love for culinary to a new level and opened up Tropical Grill Catering. By 2006 the catering company expanded to open the Tropical Grill Restaurant, but in 2008 Eveleigh sold her restaurant and took small break from professionally cooking. However by 2012, Eveleigh couldn’t seem to keep herself out of the culinary world and started a cooking demo/private chef company called Chef Leah’s Kitchen.

During her time as a private chef, Eveleigh’s family moved to Florida and after only a year they returned to the Highland’s Ranch area in Colorado. Shortly after returning, Eveleigh’s life was significantly changed when the casting producers for the Food Network show ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ cast her as a competitor in their second season. Going up against well known and seasoned chefs was intimidating, however Eveleigh told me during our interview that she kept her cool and simply had fun with it. By maintaining her composure, Eveleigh’s tactic paid off and she went on to win the competition, proving that passion will always dominate ego. After returning to Colorado a champion, Eveleigh decided that she wanted to expand her culinary knowledge and three days after enrolling at Escoffier she started classes. Despite all of her successes, it’s hard to find a more humble and gracious person than Leah Eveleigh. She’s the perfect example of what can happen when you allow yourself to never stop dreaming.