Once Upon a Chef
Jenn Segal’s family often has the same dinner four nights in a row. That’s because Segal, a L’Academie de Cuisine-trained chef, cookbook author and recipe developer, is a perfectionist about her Once Upon a Chef website. So the Potomac mom tweaks her recipes again and again until they’re just right—and her husband and two teenagers are her taste testers. The result? Her fabulous family-friendly creations, such as Moroccan Chicken Tagine or Old-Fashioned Ginger Spice Cookies, have gotten plenty of attention. Segal’s free weekly recipe newsletter, started in 2009, now has about 250,000 subscribers. Her success led to the 2018 cookbook Once Upon a Chef, the Cookbook: 100 Tested, Perfected, and Family-Approved Recipes, which sold close to 100,000 copies, and she has another cookbook coming out in October. In writing both books, Segal corralled a couple thousand loyal followers to try her recipes and tell her what they thought. The crowd-sourcing method has already produced plenty of rave reviews for her next book—including high praise for the Southwestern Corn Chowder, Sesame Ginger Meatballs and Popovers with Salted Maple Butter. In 2020, her website averaged between 8 million and 12 million page views a month, way up from the previous year—a result of the pandemic, which turned many regular restaurant-goers into home cooks.