Meet Jazmin Tyler, A Home Cook Ready to Shake Up the Culinary World in the Show’s First Season
By Dolores Quintana
Executive Producer and renowned chef David Chang is flipping the script on traditional food competition series with a bold new concept that promises a whirlwind of surprises and is now playing on Hulu. In this innovative twist, ten diverse contestants, ranging from professional chefs to social media influencers, navigate a secret underground kitchen labyrinth connected by a maze of conveyor belts. Led by a mischievous animated talking hat, they embark on a series of culinary challenges like no other.
What sets this competition apart is the absence of judges. Instead, the chefs must rely on their discerning palates as they rate each other’s final dishes in blind taste tests. With hidden identities and concealed backgrounds, the only thing that matters in this culinary arena is the quality of the food.
Among the talented participants is Jazmin Tyler, a gifted Santa Cruz, California, home cook. Growing up, Jazmin’s childhood was filled with adventurous camping trips and exhilarating surfing escapades alongside her family, immersing herself in the vibrant culture of Los Cabos, Mexico. While studying political science at UC Berkeley, Jazmin’s true passion always resided in the culinary arts. Currently living in Santa Monica, California, she is ready to showcase her skills on the national stage.
Jazmin’s culinary journey began in the comforts of her own home, where she delighted her loved ones with her creative dishes. Her talent and passion gained recognition on TikTok, amassing a following of nearly half a million people. Inspired by California Coastal Cuisine and enticed by the rich flavors of Italian cuisine, Jazmin enjoys crafting dishes that showcase fresh ingredients with a hint of indulgence.
Jazmin’s culinary prowess extends beyond her kitchen, as she has experience cooking for large gatherings during visits to her extended family in Paraguay. Her talents have garnered recognition on social media, but Jazmin is determined to prove that formal culinary training is optional for success in the culinary world. With aspirations of opening her restaurant, winning this competition would provide an invaluable launching pad for her burgeoning culinary career.
We spoke to Jazmin about her culinary journey to Santa Monica and on “Secret Chef”:
Jazmin Tyler: I was born in Santa Cruz, California. I grew up in Mexico when I was very young, but I’m currently living in Santa Monica.
Dolores Quintana: How long have you been in Santa Monica?
JT: Less than a year.
Dolores Quintana: Why did you move to Santa Monica?
JT: I love the weather here; it feels like home since I grew up in Cabo, Mexico. I love being close to nature but having more of a city feel.
Dolores Quintana: Okay. It’s interesting that you say that. So is the climate close to what we have here in Santa Monica?
JT: Not necessarily, but there’s the proximity to the ocean.
Dolores Quintana: Okay, gotcha. Are you a chef?
JT: I’m a home cook. I definitely wouldn’t call myself a chef.
Dolores Quintana: Okay, so you are a home cook, and do you want to be a chef?
JT: I would love to have my own restaurant one day. That’s actually one of my biggest dreams. I don’t know if I’d be the head chef there. I might like to manage it and oversee all the creative side. I think that chefs do an amazing job. Very stressful. I don’t know if I would be good enough to do it.
Dolores Quintana: So that kind of figures into what’s going on with the show? Correct?
JT: Yeah, definitely.
Dolores Quintana: Tell me a little about how you became involved in the show and what was involved in doing that.
JT: I just saw the Instagram page post about the open casting. So I figured, why not? I was just about to graduate college and looking for something to do with my summer vacation. I just applied to see what would happen. I went through a couple of rounds of interviews, and I got it. It was pretty smooth. It was awesome.
Dolores Quintana: Is there a specific type of cuisine you specialize in, cook at home, or are you really good at?
JT: I don’t know if there’s a specific country like, I mean, I love Mediterranean food and Mexican food. But I would say I just try to keep things like farm to table. I love local food. I love nourishing myself with that.
Dolores Quintana: This is more like a totally hyper-local question. But do you ever visit the Santa Monica farmers market?
JT: All the time.
Dolores Quintana: Really? That’s great to know that you actually go to the farmers market and you really are into farm-to-table. Do you have anything specific that you love to get at the farmers market?
JT: I love the grass-fed meat stand run by two women. I forgot the name of the stand, but they’re so sweet. They have the most amazing regeneratively raised meat. So that’s on the top of my list. Now that it is inevitably peach and cherry season, just loading up on that.
Dolores Quintana: Yeah, you’re right. It is stone fruit season. So it must be a bonanza there. I know you probably can’t like talk too much about the show. But I’m just wondering if you want to give me a broad sketch of what it was like to be part of it.
JT: What can I say? I would say that my favorite part was definitely just the test. Everyone was so talented, and everyone came from different backgrounds. There are home chefs. There are Michelin chefs. Getting to taste everyone’s food was the highlight of it for me.
Dolores Quintana: Is Secret Chef a competition show or something different?
JT: It was a competition show, for sure. There were a lot of cooking challenges, and it involved this talking chef hat that guided us through everything. Everything was very secretive. It was definitely unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Dolores Quintana: Okay, so it’s got a different feel as a show. May I ask the genesis of the name Secret Chef? I think I have an idea of what it is. But how would you describe it?
JT: Everyone is totally anonymous. When I was presented with a plate, I had to guess who made it. So that meant that we could judge the food based on its quality and not have biases.
Dolores Quintana: Okay, I think that’s an excellent point to make. Because I believe that sometimes people attach a specific value to a restaurant. Suppose they know that a particular chef is cooking. If Eric Ripert is cooking at a restaurant, most people would probably assume it’s great even before tasting it.
JT: Exactly. So for me, if I tasted this amazing dish, I’d say oh, like a Michelin-starred chef must have made this. For all I know, it could have been someone with the same experience as me and might never have worked in a professional kitchen. It allows the food to shine.
Dolores Quintana: Yeah, that’s, I think that’s a perfect way to do that. I’m sure you could really be surprised by some dishes, and you probably were. What are you looking to do after you have been on the show personally?
JT: Well, personally, I graduated from college shortly before the show began. I was at a place of not knowing what to do. But now that I’ve been in Santa Monica for almost a year, I’m looking to start my own food company, which is actually in the works. My main job right now is as a food content creator on TikTok.