COLORADO SPRINGS — A local woman is in the running for the title 'favorite chef.' It's for a national, online competition among some of the best chefs in the country.
Chef owner, Luchal Lucas prides herself on soulfood seafood. She opened up her business, Luchal's Gourmet Catering, six years ago, opened up a food truck four years ago, and now also has a storefront inside of COATI Uprise in downtown Colorado Springs.
The storefront opened six months ago when COATI opened to the public, but Lucas has been putting her own spice on cooking for more than a decade. In 2010, she joined the military and began serving up some of her soulfood seafood to soldiers.
"I kind of pinch myself on the daily, due to the fact I went through the trenches, being with fellow soldiers and then we all sat there and made food for thousands," said Lucas, an army veteran. "To think that from what I've done previously has pushed over to my own company, that's really where I get the grit from."
Now, Lucas is getting a taste of being a finalist in the favorite chef competition. What's at stake? To be featured in a two-page advertisement spread in Bon Appetit magazine and $50,000 when it's needed most.
"COVID didn't stop anything," said Lucas. "COVID was the motivation to keep pushing forward."
Lucas says she couldn't have done any of it without her staff by her side.
"She's the most sunshine person when you meet her, even when it's cold outside. She will light up," said Bridget Cavanaugh, an employee.
For someone who's given so much for our country, if she wins, she wants to give back to her employees.
"She is so loving and she just wants to make sure everything is great," said Cavanaugh. "But she also wants to take care of the people who are also making her business great."
"To have my people here and to have my staff and to meet pennies out the dollar and still stuck by us, I kind of get emotional about it," said Lucas.
There are four categories in the competition, including a category titled "hero." As of writing this article, Lucas holds 2nd place out of 24 chefs.
For more information about the competition, and how to vote for Lucas, click here.