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Welcome! I’m Jenn Segal. Once upon a time, I was a chef – tall hat, white coat, checked pants, the works!  I left the restaurant business in 2003 when my son was born. Now, I’m cooking for my family and sharing all my tested and perfected recipes with you here. The recipes on this site reflect my life: as a mom, I need meals the whole family will enjoy but the chef in me needs to eat too!

What You’ll Find Here

  • Tested and perfected recipes that work for you the very first time
  • Step-by-step photos
  • Ingredient recommendations that take the guesswork out of grocery shopping
  • Menus for holidays, entertaining and everyday family meals



Do you have professional training? Yes, I’m a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine.

Do you have a cookbook? My first cookbook will be published by Chronicle Books in 2018. Read more about it here.

Who takes your photographs? I take my own photographs using a Nikon D5100. I’m still learning…

Where do you get your recipes? I develop most of my own recipes. On occasion, I’ll adapt a recipe from another source or share favorites from my cookbook collection (sources are always cited within the recipe post and on the printed recipe). Every recipe on this site has been tested multiple times and perfected by me in my home kitchen.

How can I subscribe to Once Upon a Chef? Easy! Submit your email in the coral subscription box in the right sidebar.

How can I contact you? If you have a specific question about a recipe, it is best to leave it in the comment section of the recipe. If you have a general question, please use the contact form at the bottom of every page. I do my best to respond to all questions and emails within a day or two.

Do you teach cooking classes? Sorry, at the present time I do not.

Can I republish your recipes on my blog? Sure, please just provide attribution and link to the original recipe.


Still Curious? Me in a Nutshell

  • I’ve lived most my life in the Washington, DC area.
  • I met my husband on a blind date.
  • I have a 14-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. They would both rather play basketball than help me in the kitchen, unless there is cookie dough involved.
  • I became interested in cooking in college while studying abroad in France and living with a French family. (My mother hates to cook!)
  • I spent one summer working as an Au Pair in Paris for a family with three little boys and a puppy. It was the only job I was ever fired from.
  • Culinary school was the most fun I ever had.
  • My first week working in a restaurant kitchen, I cried every night and wondered what the heck I had gotten myself into.
  • In 2009, I decided I wanted to write a cookbook. A book agent told me I had no chance of getting published as an unknown so I started this blog instead. (Now I’m writing a cookbook!)
  • At 44 years old, I still talk to my mother every day and run everything by her. (I know she loves it when I call her at 11:00 at night!) Thanks, Mom.
  • I have a big, sweet, yellow lab named Miles. He used to be crazy; now he’s just lazy.
  • When my kids were babies, I started a cake baking business. I have great cake and cupcake recipes!
  • I’m obsessed with white kitchens. Check out my favorites here.
  • When I’m not cooking or driving carpool, I love to paint. Food is my favorite subject.