Chef Sharon Masenda Allen started her culinary journey at The Art Institute of Dallas, where she graduated in 2008 and met her now-husband, Darren, from Pampa.
By 2010, Masenda was running her own catering business in Dallas.
“Between that (catering company) and culinary school, I worked everywhere. My first restaurant job was at Black-Eyed Pea, then I went to Red Lobster, then BJ’s, and then I went to the work at the hospital. That’s where I got most of my experience in being a patient chef and working with allergies, particular diets, gluten-free, dairy, and stuff like that,” Masenda shared.
She also worked at American Girl Boutique and Bistros while she was in Dallas, which gave her experience with working around children’s allergies as well.
“So, I learned earlier in my career to deal with food limitations, and thats what I’m doing a lot of right now with my meal-preps. A lot of my clients are people who can’t eat certain things– I’m already versed in substitutes and how we can still make it (taste) really good, and how they can still have full meals without having to eat (for example) gluten or cheese,” she explained.
“Meal Prep Delicious, my meal-prep program, is only six months old. I had a couple of friends that just wanted to try meals and there was some talk about meal-prep,” Masenda said.
“I want to be really clear that I do not sell a diet program. My goal with this program is to let people have another options. There’s so much variety; one day will be Asian food, one day I’ll make Mexican food, one day I’ll do Greek. I do a little bit of everything.”
The meal-prep program is catered to those who are either home-bound or have busy schedules who enjoy variety in their meals.
“We have a lot of people who don’t have time to eat, and the amount of time they do have to eat leads to bad choices. All of those bad choices, you pay for later in life,” Masenda explained.
“A lot of it is preventable and diet; and when I say diet I don’t mean counting calories– I mean what you feed your body and how you fuel yourself.”
“Again, it’s not a diet, and so you won’t just be eating rice and chicken like you see in most meal-prep situations. I am your private chef for that week, so you can customize. You can call me after I post the menu and say ‘I want chicken added,’ or ‘I know it’s a salad, but can you do a wrap?’ done. I have people who are pescetarian and I have people who are vegetarian. It’s okay to tell me you don’t like something or if you want me to do something different,” she said.
“It’s $100, and you get five meals and five drinks. Everything comes with a side. I make my first delivery on Sunday and you’ll get your Monday and Tuesday meal. Your second delivery comes Tuesday afternoon and you’ll get the rest of the week’s (meals) and you’re set. There’s nothing else you need to do except warm it up.”
“It’s a great service, and I want people to use it. It’s great for the elderly, for people who don’t have time or strength to cook their meals, it’s great for moms and it’s great for oilfield guys so they aren’t eating at the gas station every day. Those are the people I’m here for,” she shared.
While flexible to diet and taste, Masenda shared that she does not sell plates individually.
“You have to get the whole program, and the reason for that is cost,” she said.
Although Chef Masenda is excited about her new meal-prep program, she warns to ‘get in while you can.’
“This isn’t it for me, so get in while I’m doing this,” she laughed.
“You will never see me tied down to one place.
A Chef with Many Hats
“It was a bit of a challenge when I moved to Pampa, it’s a different demographic and there’s not really many people who need a private chef,” Masenda shared of her early days in Pampa.
“So, because of that, that leads to the other few things I do other than being a private chef.”
“My instagram, girleatstexas, I have grown to around 20,000 followers. I do things like food videos, which is where I do my brand work,” she explained.
“Brands will send me their products to make recipes or to check out things like knives, cutting boards, whatever product they need to sell,” she said.
“That’s what I mostly did when I moved to Pampa to build up my clientele and social media presence and still get to play with food. Then I moved into social media managing for these restaurants (in New York) because I had built this platform from nothing. So I thought, ‘I have to do something with this.’”
“So, now, I’m a social media manager for about five different restaraunts. All of my restaurants are based out of New York (City). I got the job through a friend that lives in New York, my sister is from New York and I spend a lot of time in New York,” she said.
“I try to visit as often as I can. I go to their restaurants, I eat their food, I consult with them. I help them with their social media presence and help them keep great promotions running. I would love to do more of this here in Pampa because people don’t really seem to invest in their online presence. I feel there are so many people who can do so much more if people knew about them.”
Future Plans of Opening her own Restaurant in Pampa
Chef Masenda shared her plan to open a restaurant in Pampa with her husband, Darren, who is also a chef.
“It’s something I’ve wanted since I was eight years old,” Masenda shared.
“Right now, there are a lot of restaurants that are ran by business people. What I want to bring to Pampa is a restaurant run by chefs who love food and have integrity in the food, and have a passion for hospitality.”
“We’re not just people trying to pay for vacations and big houses, we are passionate. If you tell me one time that you don’t like the flavor of oranges, I will never forget that about you. That’s the kind of people we are. We truly care about food and when that is what you have at the top, it trickles down to everybody else,” she said.
“We’ve got enough Mexican food, we’ve got enough burgers. We need a place where you go to after church and get a stack of pancakes and eggs benedict, where you can get bottomless mimosas. That’s what I want to bring to Pampa, I’m just waiting for the opportunity,” Masenda said of her future plans.
The Pampa News hopes to see Chef Sharon and Darren’s restaurant open soon and wishes her and her clients ‘good eating’ with Meal-Prep Delicious.
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