Usually you can find Mieka Houser at Full On Craft Eats & Drinks in Rockville, MD. However, this month you’ll see the local chef on the season premiere of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX. Houser has been the Kitchen Manager and Head Chef at Full On Craft Eats & Drinks since it opened in June 2014.
She perfected her passion for food while attending culinary school at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD, where she studied French cuisine. Now, she currently lives with her fiancé of three years in Olney, MD.
Houser took the time to speak with Tagg about the show, being out, and her love for cooking.
What made you want to be on Hell’s Kitchen?
I’ve always had a passion for cooking. Before I applied for the show, I had only seen a couple episodes. My fiancé is the one who actually gave me the idea of trying out.
What was most surprising while being on the show?
The most surprising thing about being on the show was actually being on the show. Having the opportunity to cook for Gordon Ramsay is something that I had never imagined happening. Stuff like this doesn’t happen to regular people. I’m still shocked!
Were you out to your fellow contestants? Was that important to you?
I was out to my fellow contestants. Having them know my sexuality wasn’t really a big deal. I’ve pretty much stopped caring about what other people think about me and who I choose to share my life with.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve gained from this experience?
The biggest thing I’ve gained from this experience is confidence. Now that I’ve actually stepped out of my comfort zone and survived, I’m trying to live my life to the fullest.
What was your favorite thing about being on the show? What was your least favorite?
My favorite thing about being on the show was knowing that I was doing something that would better my life and career. My least favorite thing about being on the show was being away from my fiancé, friends, and family.
What’s your favorite dish to make?
I really don’t have a favorite “favorite” dish to make. I do however, love making fresh pasta. Any dish that gives me the chance to roll out fresh pasta dough is definitely going to be a good one.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself being married and having a bunch of rescue dogs! In addition, I see myself further than I am now in my career. I’m not quite sure what I really want as far as my career goes. I love food, and want to continue cooking and creating memorable dishes.
Any words of wisdom?
Sexuality doesn’t define a person. It’s only a piece of everything that makes us all who we are. Don’t let people bring you down or feel any less of a great person just because you’re “different”. Everyone is different. That’s what makes life fun and interesting.