|Chef Bev Lazo of Hell's Kitchen season 12|
While season 12 of Hell’s Kitchen may have come to a close, we didn’t waste the opportunity to chat with one of this season’s liveliest contestants, Chef Bev Lazo-Gonzalez.
Based in Whittier, CA, Bev was the only food truck chef (a very cut-throat business, as we all know), to compete on this season. With her laid-back and cheerful personality, it was easy to hear her smiling through the phone as she recounted some of her experiences on the show and the time she got to spend with Chef Ramsay.
As an only child in the 80s, Bev didn’t have brothers and sisters to play with growing up and she liked watching chefs, like Julia Childs, cook on TV. Being fascinated with cooking, she started making food for her friends at an early age. The first culinary delight Bev mastered was pizza dough, she worked on it and worked on it and made various kinds of pizzas which she, “would wrap in foil and then hop on her cruiser to deliver to her friends.” Lucky friends! Wonder if any of them took a walk down memory lane while watching her make her creative pie during the pizza challenge this season.
Bev’s tactic going into Hell’s Kitchen was to strike like a ninja; to very quietly come out of nowhere when nobody expected it, and she did just that for the first 7 episodes. Before leaving Whittier for the show tapings she said, “The best bit of advice I received was from my husband and best friend who told me to just be myself, they said to stay true to who you are.” Bev admits she did just that and she approached the contest as if she was going to work every day. She clocked-in, did her job, and clocked out. Just like at work she learned how to deal with everyone’s personalities and tried to make it a point not to get involved with any drama.
Chef Bev Lazo & team-mate Sandra working at the garnish
station on the Hell's Kitchen Finale for Team Jason.
Bev’s favorite part of being on Hell’s Kitchen was, “Meeting Chef Ramsay, I’ve been a fan of his for a long time and was thrilled to meet him in person. That, and the challenges.” When we later asked what her favorite challenge was she said it was definitely the tricycle challenge because it was a fun ride. She specified her favorite Chef Ramsay moment to be when the red team won a challenge and were able to have a casual dinner with him at his LA restaurant; she liked being around him while he was being “just a regular guy.” She also really enjoyed the lobster ravioli challenge where she was able to get up close and personal with Chef Ramsay and learn directly from him. That is something she’ll never forget.
When asked if being on the show was what she thought it would be, Bev said, “it’s easy to watch from home and think I can do that, and I can do that. But when you get there it’s so different from what you imagine.”
We wanted to know if given the opportunity, would Bev do Hell’s Kitchen again? “I would love it, I’m waiting for an All-Star show!” She went on to say that the next time around she would take on a whole new strategy and be more aggressive than ever. This season she was all about team-work but if she were to do it again it would be more about getting ahead.
While participating in the show she found all of the contestants on the show very talented in different ways but said her personal toughest competitors were Melanie and Joy. Rightly so because both of them made it to the last episodes until, for the first time in Hell’s Kitchen history, Joy quit and took herself out of the running while Melanie has made it to the top 4. Believe it or not, the taping of Season 12 ended over a year and a half ago and we asked Bev if it was difficult not to spill the beans for all that time. She said, “It was tough because you’re so excited, it’s the best experience in the history of your life so far and it’s hard not to talk about.” But she managed to keep things under wraps and is excited, as we are, to watch the season finale to find out who wins this Thursday night on Fox. When we asked who she thought it might be Bev said, “I really don’t know, it’s a tough call because all the chefs are talented and they’re all going in different directions. We’ll all have to tune in and see.”
What’s next for Bev? She told us she would love to open her own food truck, or own a little café somewhere - nothing too big, just her own place to cook her food for people. She’s currently looking into investors but in the meantime she’s content being a food truck line chef and doing private and personal catering events. She also merged her love and background in radio broadcasting with her love of cooking and hosts her own internet radio show. Be sure to catch Bev on Coolinary Trends every Thursday night from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. PST on RantRadioNetwork.com. We hope to see her have a syndicated show some day!
|Chef Bev Lazo’s Cali-Style Pizza|
Chef Bev Lazo’s Cali-Style Pizza Recipe
Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
• 1 pound prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
• All-purpose flour, for dusting
• Cornmeal, for dusting
• 2 teaspoons of aged balsamic vinegar
• 1 clove garlic, grated
• 1 large fig thinly sliced
• ¼ cup of pizza sauce
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 cup of ricotta salata
• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• 2 cups baby arugula
• 2 cups baby spinach
• 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
• Shaved parmesan cheese, for topping
• 1 can (28-ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, in juice
• 1 small white onion, finely diced
• 2 clove garlic, peeled and minced
• 3 to 4 fresh basil leaves
• 2 teaspoons of fresh oregano
• Pinch salt
• Pinch of crushed pepper
• Pinch sugar
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, to saute
Empty the contents of the tomato can in a mixing bowl and coarsely crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands, leaving them just a little chunky. In a heavy bottom 2-quart saucepot, add the olive oil, over a medium high flame and heat a little. Add the onions and saute until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and saute about a minute until golden. Quickly add the crushed tomatoes to the mix. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and crushed red pepper, to taste, and add the fresh basil and oregano. You can add a touch of sugar if desired or if tomatoes are tart. Simmer on a low flame, stirring often for at least 15 minutes. If not using right away, cool down and store in airtight container in the refrigerator, up to 1 week.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch round. Transfer onto the hot pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes.
Remove the pizza from the oven, add sauce and spread around pizza dough, top with the ricotta salata , mozzarella, prosciutto and figs . Return the pizza to the oven; bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the arugula, spinach, and balsamic vinegar add salt and pepper to taste. Top the pizza with the arugula salad, and shaved parmesan, then drizzle a little olive oil. Cut into slices.