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Houston's Hottest Chefs: Monica Pope

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Every day this week we'll be highlighting the female winners from our poll on Houston's Hottest Chefs. On Friday we'll reveal the hottest chef of all.

EOW: How does it feel to one of the hottest chefs in Houston?

Monica Pope: *humbly chuckles* It's nice to be one of the hottest chefs. A lot of great stuff has been happening lately.

EOW: I bet. Aren't you doing the Top Chefs Masters?

MP: Yeah, I'm doing the Top Chefs Masters. I was also just at the White House [on Friday]. So yeah, there's a lot of good stuff.

EOW: So what was going on at the White House?

MP: Michelle Obama was announcing the second part of the Let's Move campaign to fight against childhood obesity by getting kids to exercise at least 60 minutes a day. So we went up there to show support and solidarity. About 1,000 chefs showed up on the South Lawn and Michelle came out and spoke to us about getting out there into the schools to do this while being kind and respectful of the people and systems currently in place with the school systems.

EOW: So how do you stay fit as a chef?

MP: I was overweight as a kid through my twenties and I had a real issue with food addiction. So I had to really work through that. I try to eat the way we're supposed to eat, which also means sitting down at a table to enjoy a meal as often as possible. I try to eat using local foods as the main ingredients. It all starts with good local ingredients since the way it's been grown, harvested and shipped results in great nutritional value and will taste better.

EOW: With all that and now one of Houston's hottest chefs, is there anything on your list that you haven't accomplished?

MP: I don't even ask the question, "What's next?" because I'm not sure what all is out there. I've been so lucky so far.

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