Megan grew up in a food-focused family outside of Philadelphia in the rural suburb of Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Homemade meals were the standard in the Tucker household, but the family also loved going to restaurants and ordering Chinese take out. In the summertime, New Jersey produce was always on the table. But year-round, Megan was in the kitchen to help.
At 14, Megan started working at a Greek bakery and delicatessen. About the same time a new found interest in health and nutrition prompted her to become vegetarian, and save her bakery money to purchase a Vitamix high speed blender. Her sophomore year in high school, Megan began to relieve her mother of the daily cooking responsibilities. When she wasn’t working at the bakery, Megan was watching the new TV cooking channel, the Food Network. Inspired, she attempted to replicate techniques she saw on television. Her interest in nutrition became amplified when she took a nutrition science class her junior year of high school. After writing a book report for this class on Milk – The Deadly Poison by Robert Cohen, she gave up drinking milk. By the time she was thinking about college, it was clear that culinary school was a possibility.
Megan decided to attend a traditional college, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, instead of going straight into culinary school. At IUP, she studied comparative religion, anthropology and nutrition. She continued to work in restaurants throughout college and in fact, Megan hasn’t held a job outside of a professional kitchen. After completing her liberal arts degree, Megan attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY and completed an externship at Santa Fe’s Inn of the Anasazi. She graduated with honors in 2006. Throughout culinary school, Megan “took a sabbatical” from her vegetarian diet, realizing it would impede her acquisition of the knowledge of culinary arts.
While living in Santa Fe, Megan worked at various restaurants. She has been a line cook at Santacafe, Sous / Pastry Chef at Amavi, Pastry Chef at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, Sous Chef at Rio Chama, and Executive Chef at Amavi.
In her first executive chef position, Megan enjoyed the creative freedom at Amavi. Her vision for the cuisine was a juxtaposition of French, Spanish, and Italian classics featuring local ingredients from Northern New Mexico. Megan’s modern take on old word cuisine paid homage to both local farmers and the countries where she found inspiration. While working at Amavi, Megan volunteered for Cooking with Kids, The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta‘s Restaurant Committee, contributed to The Santa Fe School of Cooking‘s Restaurant Walking Tours and became a member of the Chef’s Collaborative, a national organization focusing on sustainability.
In February of 2011, Megan realized it was time to revisit her diet and lifestyle choices. The environment of working in restaurants is notorious for its unhealthy attributes. It had been many years since she made her health a major priority. Inspired by raw food / vegan websites, she challenged herself to eat a raw food / vegan diet for a week. The experiment was a complete success, and Megan decided to continue on the diet as best as she could. Though not adhering 100% to the diet, as tasting menu items is an important part of a chef’s job, most would consider her diet “high raw vegan”. This flexible plant based diet focuses on raw foods, but allows for occasions when it is not possible or desirable. Megan has been eating this way ever since and feels healthier than ever.
New Year’s Eve 2011 marked the last night of business for Amavi. Making the best of a difficult situation, Megan decided it was time to launch her website and blog. Although each has its own focus, together they reflect Megan’s passion for cuisine, helping others, and healthy living. The website showcases a menu of professional culinary services and contains a portfolio of Megan’s past achievements and press. Seeing an absence of websites that focus on seasonal, whole food, plant-based cuisine on the Internet, the blog is a personal effort attempting to fill this niche.
Megan, her boyfriend Zach and her shelter dog Cholula relocated to Denver, CO in August 2012. Megan is enjoying city life and is currently employed by America’s favorite certified organic grocery store.
Look for new content and updates in May 2013.