Update: Doreen prefers non-binary pronouns so I have updated this article to reflect that.
The feature on badass chef Jennifer Zavala did so well yesterday I decided to do it again. I asked Jen if she would nominate another kickass lady chef, she did not hesitate to mention Doreen Demarco.
Doreen is a powerhouse chef running not one, but two kitchens in South Philadelphia, at American Sardine Bar and Second District Brewing.
They are bringing visibility to hardworking chefs in our city by going on culinary competition shows. Just last year, they appeared on Guy’s Grocery Games on the Food Network. While they didn’t win the contest, they were lauded for their delicious supreme pizza dip. Yum
Chef Doreen has another chance for television cooking glory when they soon appear on the network’s ultimate cooking competition show, Chopped. [Note: I’ll have the air date for that soon so stay tuned.]
They were destined to work in kitchens. Because their father was a chef, they basically grew up in commercial kitchens spending most mornings with him giving them an early insight into how they are run. So while they are not formally trained, having learned hands-on at places like Gaetano’s in their hometown of Willingboro, NJ, it’s in their blood so to speak. I can only assume they make a MEAN cheesesteak as Gaetano’s make some of the best in South Jersey. But I digress.
Prior to their current posts, they opened the kitchen at South Bowl and worked at Little Nonna’s for a while.
Two years ago, they were featured as an up-and-coming chef in Billy Penn’s Who’s Next Chefs spotlight.
They also give back as much as they can when time allows. They’ll be competing with other female chefs at the next Dish It Up 2019 for Women Against Abuse which will be held on March 21st at Vie. [Note: I was a judge last year, but not this year.]
They currently live in Mount Airy with their fiance Sierra and dog, Angel. They dream of one day opening up their own restaurant in the neighborhood because they thinks there’s not a lot of food offerings in the area.
Other fun facts? They play professional Rock Paper Scissors in their free time and travels for ice cream in search of finding the best in the world. Yeah, that’s pretty badass! This is one badass chef to watch here in Philly. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram.
Stay tuned for another badass female chef in Philly, I’m just getting started!
Food enthusiast. Travel lover. Social media maven.
Independent Journalist. Food marketing/PR expert.