Meet Iron Chef: Quest For An Iron Legend challenger Claudette Zepeda. She is not a new face in the culinary industry but in fact a revered name. Many either know her from her Top Chef gig or being the face of El Jardin.
Learn about Claudette’s husband, kids, age, and net worth in this article below.
Claudette Zepeda On Iron Chef: Quest For An Iron Legend
Iron Chef: Quest For An Iron Legend, a spin-off of the popular cookery show Iron Chef, premiered on June 15, 2022. Despite the fact that the developers devised a new model for this spin-off, the high stakes and challenges remain the same. Seven challengers will join the Kitchen Stadium, where they will compete against a fresh array of recognizable faces or, as we like to call them, culinary masters.
The one who can hold their footing among the seven opponents will compete against all five great chefs for the chance to be called the first-ever Iron Legend.
Claudette is one of the contestants competing as a challenger. Others joining her are Mason Hereford, Curtis Duffy, Esther Choi, Gregory Gourdet, Mei Lin, and Yia Vang.
Claudette Zepeda Net Worth
Claudette Zepeda has accumulated a net worth of $750 thousand. At the age of 17, she was determined to become a chef but the journey wasn’t easy. She enrolled in a culinary school but couldn’t afford the tuition and was forced to drop out after a year. She had been kicked out of the house at 15 and became a teen mom at age 18.
Fortunately, another Latina chef found her and took a risk on her. Denise Roa, who is currently the executive chef at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, offered the young mother a kitchen job in a San Diego Italian restaurant, and her professional cooking career began.
Claudette earned a job as the pastry chef at El Bizcocho, the once-acclaimed but now-defunct fine-dining restaurant at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, after working as a pastry cook at Jack’s La Jolla. Gavin Kaysen, her boss, a two-time James Beard Award-winning chef with two restaurants in Minnesota became her mentor, friend, and supporter.
From El Bizcocho, she went on for three years at Jsix Restaurant, where she expanded her expertise into breadmaking, charcuterie, and whole-animal butchery.
After she joined San Diego’s Rise & Shine Restaurant Group, El Jardin, she ran her own kitchen, designed her own space, hired her own staff, and staked her reputation on comida abuelita, or what she fondly calls “chic grandma food.”
“This is the food I grew up on. It’s the food I love and the food that makes me happy,” she told San Diego Tribune. “As a chef, I have the ability to impart memories that remind people of something. This food represents the best memories of my life”. Claudette garnered national acclaim for her time as the executive chef & partner behind El Jardín, a regional Mexican restaurant in the area.
El Jardin received a fantastic review from the New York Times, was named to Esquire’s 2018 Best New Restaurants, and was named to Michelin’s 2019 Bib Gourmand list during her tenure.
She is also working as Consulting Chef of VAGA located in San Diego’s North County, Zepeda oversees the creative vision, authoring a love letter to her hometown with a menu that celebrates local flavors and influences.
Claudette was named both Eater San Diego and San Diego Union Tribune’s Chef of the Year in 2018 and was a James Beard Best Chef West semifinalist in 2019. Prior to El Jardín, Zepeda was chef de cuisine at Javier Plascencia’s celebrated Bracero and competed on Top Chef Season 15 and Top Chef Mexico Season 2.
In 2019, Claudette Founded Viva La Vida, LLC., establishing micro-businesses with single mothers throughout Mexico’s seven regions to import their heirloom ingredients previously unavailable in the U.S.
Is Claudette Zepeda Married?
In 2010, Claudette Zepeda became a married woman. She tied the knots with her husband Jeremy Wilkins who is 45 years old in 2022. Jeremy is a marine veteran. They live in Chula Vista with their children James Buchans and Hailey.
For a long time, Claudette was a single mother who gave birth to James when she was 18. “Having kids humbles you. Standing in line for welfare humbles you. You fall a lot. I have numb shins from constantly being on my knees taking life’s beatings,” she said.
James turned 18 years old in July 2021. On the otherhand, Hailey celebrated her 16th birthday on 2 September 2021.
On Mother’s Day 2021, Claudette wrote dedicated a post to her children. She wrote, “The single mom journey, crazy lows, beautiful highs. 18 years ago I met my soulmate, my rock, the man that makes me a better woman every day. 16 years ago I met my match, my twin, the fire in my core that helps me find my voice when I am weak. Thank you, babies, for everything you give me in our journey together. I’m sorry for the years I’ve missed at work, I promise this is all for you. I learned from two amazing women how to give without expectations. Love, Mommy”.
Claudette Zepeda Age
In August 2021, Claudette Zepeda turned 37 years old.
Claudette Zepeda Family
Claudette Zepeda was born and raised in Imperial Beach. She grew up as the only girl in a family of five boys. She claims her parents mistook her for a lawyer because she was a curious, energetic, and stubborn child.
Her mother and grandmother were also superb cooks. Growing up, Claudette spent three months each summer at her aunt Lorenza’s restaurant, Las Calandrias, in Guadalajara. Her aunt was a single mother of six who used that restaurant to put food on her table and send all her kids to university.
On Mother’s Day 2022, she featured her mother in an IG post.
Speaking with bon appetit, Claudette shared that her parents are from Tijuana, right near the border but she was born in San Diego. Her dad wanted her to be a Mexican citizen whereas her mom wanted her to be an American citizen. So, her mother ran away crossing the border to have her.
On the day, she was born, her dad showed up at the hospital with KFC in his hand.
Growing up, her family wasn’t financially strong so they, she and her brothers, amused themselves by playing with insects. Her brother once fractured his neck jumping off a three-story building while playing Batman and Robin.
Is Claudette Zepeda On Instagram?
Indeed Claudette Zepeda is available on Instagram (@claudetteazepeda) and Facebook (@claudetteazepeda).
Claudette Zepeda Height
Besides the big pair of glasses and partly colored hair, Claudette Zepeda’s distinct features are her tattoos. She has inked Mexican painter Frida Kahlo on her left arm. Meanwhile, Claudette Zepeda’s height measures 5 feet 4 inches.
Claudette Zepeda Weight Loss
Fans of Claudette Zepeda who have seen her journey from Top Chef noticed that she went through a noticeable weight loss phase. Although fans inquired about how she was able to attend it, it appears she never addressed the questions.
When Is Claudette Zepeda Birthday?
Claudette Zepeda’s birthday is on 17 August.
Where Is Claudette Zepeda From?
Claudette Zepeda grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well as San Diego, United States. She is living in Chula, Vista because it was where she found her dream house. She told California Dream Big, “It’s where we found a dream house with land—we felt so lucky to find it in California as it is challenging to find that kind of turf—and we bought our first house”.