Chef Gabriel Lewis discusses life after “MasterChef” on Fox TV
When Gordon Ramsay sent 19-year-old Gabriel Lewis home from “MasterChef” in 2017, the gasps of his competitors were audible. Not because his cannelloni hadn’t failed, but because the teenager had stood up to this point, his youth and innocence stole the hearts of the home cooks who were his competitors and viewers alike. nationwide.
But the bad news didn’t last long. In almost the same breath as he sent Lewis home, Ramsay offered to pay Lewis’s way to culinary school, and chef Aaron Sanchez offered him a job in New Orleans when he got his diploma.
Cue waterworks, and television gold has been struck in the realm of reality TV.
In real life, after graduating from Francis Tuttle’s School of Culinary Arts, Lewis moved to Denver to attend Johnson & Wales, where he graduated in the summer of 2019. He spent time doing work from private chef, seizing opportunities through the connections he made during his time on the reality cooking show Fox.
Plans to move to New Orleans and work for Sanchez were the next step, starting in early 2020. But Lewis, like the rest of the world, quickly discovered the disruptive powers of a pandemic.
Lewis had a decision to make and he chose to get creative.
Faced with the loss of his mother and the uncertainty of the spread of COVID-19, Lewis took to social media to share his skills and passion for the culinary arts. His videos, photos and website have gradually created a market for private cooking experiences, demonstrations and cooking classes.
“I was making weekend dinners for family and friends making sure people didn’t have to go out to eat,” he said. “When things started to open up, I started doing what I did before COVID, which was private dining experiences.”
Lewis said many of his events are held at Airbnb locations.
“I cook all the ingredients fresh, so if I’m making a salmon dish, I take it out of the water that morning.”
He said his events ranged from formal affairs to informal instruction.
“I’m just showing people how they can create that scene at home,” he said.
In addition to guiding people into their inner culinary artist, Lewis said he has found a niche in the booming real estate market. No open house is complete without the touch of a chef, who sends mouth-watering aromas through an available property and leads potential buyers to an assortment of snacks.
Lewis and his sister Diana, who is a photographer, have collaborated to create a vibrant website, chefgabeonline.com. There you can watch videos, view photos and book events.
“So we started making different photos and videos,” he explained. “How-to videos, recipes, and collaborating with brands nationwide to create content for their social networks, as well as mine.”
That collaboration has led to his upcoming move, a book and video project Lewis hopes to complete early next year.
“It is a tribute to my mother, my grandmother and my great aunt,” he said. “All three of them were instrumental in providing me with this fire,” he said.
Lewis said the videos will support the recipes he shares and help answer questions.
“One thing I hate about cookbooks is that you can read this recipe, but it doesn’t come out well,” he said. “But if they had a video next to it of the chef making the recipe that says that’s exactly how you do this and that, that helps.”
Lewis said he plans to eventually accept her offer to work in New Orleans, if only for the chance to learn. He said his long-term future may or may not lie in a restaurant.
Whatever he does with his career, Lewis is determined to make it a collaborative effort.
“Symbiotic relationships are the way things are supposed to be and so every time I work with someone in media or production the same thing,” he said. “My sister and I have a collaboration. It’s a 50-50 split because it’s equal, right? Symbiosis is how people grow up. When it becomes parasitism, a person is going to die while the another grows until she finds another to lock onto. “
Wise words of the millennial generation. Wisdom germinated early on in Lewis’ consciousness not only from the family, but also from the mentors of the Francis Tuttle School of Culinary Art.
Lewis met me in a kitchen lab at Francis Tuttle’s. A laboratory where he first learned to express the stress and insecurity of being a teenager on a plate. Lewis uses kitchen labs for recipe development and video production, which will be part of his book project.
Lewis’s success and his approach to the future is a testament to the success of Francis Tuttle’s cooking school and the efforts of the Oklahoma hospitality industry to secure its future.
Thursday, I was master of ceremonies for the first stop of the Culinary Odyssey, which culminates Thursday at the Rivers Spirit Casino in Tulsa. The two-night, interstate event raises funds for the Oklahoma Hospitality Foundation’s efforts to support ProStart, which is a national program that supports culinary education nationwide.
Between what I’ve witnessed so far (details next week) and the direction Chef Lewis is taking, the future of Oklahoma’s hospitality industry looks bright despite the storm and stress ‘he continues to suffer at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.