About The Novice Chef

Hi there! Welcome to The Novice Chef, where you can expect tried and true, delectable everyday recipes that your entire family will love! We are a small family team that work hard to provide high quality recipes since 2008. We spend most of our days in the kitchen testing recipes and sharing them with all of you!

Where It All Began

In October 2008, Jorge and I got married. I was the ripe age of 21, Jorge was 26, and we were just starting our lives together. A month after we got married, I started keeping track of the recipes I was making and trying out. I would post just the recipe, a few notes or changes I might make next time and a quick photo that I took on my flip phone (yes you read that correctly!). Little did I know, other home cooks were finding my recipes and eventually I had developed quite a following!

In 2010, I started working full time on The Novice Chef. The next few years I spent learning everything I could about recipe development, food styling and food photography. Jorge was working in the IT world as a consultant and spent a lot of time on the road for work. Leaving me tons of time to take hands on cooking classes, photography courses, traveling to working farms around the US, and visiting food processing plants to see how and where our food comes. I am so grateful for all of that time spent learning to be able to share the best recipes now!

As of today, The Novice Chef has continued to grow beyond my wildest dreams and I am so grateful to each and every one of you for the community we have built here together! The Novice Chef has more than 2 million readers each month and our social following continues to grow on FacebookInstagramPinterestTikTok, and Youtube. Sharing our family recipes with all of you has been the best job I could ever ask for, thank you for making it possible!

The Novice Chef has been featured by Buzzfeed, Yahoo, Marie Claire, USA Today, MSN, Relish, Food Network, Martha Stewart Living and many others.

Meet The Family

Jessica Segarra at the Dining Table with Her Two Daughters

Jessica Segarra

I am a trial and error, self taught, sugar addict who taught herself how to thrive in the kitchen, one recipe at a time. I like to live by the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy & 20% of living your life. So, I enjoy sharing both healthy & cheat day recipes! 🤤

Jessica Segarra in a Blue Floral Dress Holding a Digital Camera

I am also a wife to Jorge, mama to twins Ellie & Lyla and my son Milo. My kids are my life and I love that all three of my kids share a love of cooking – and eating – with me. We also have a whole brood of pets running around picking up any dropped scraps in the kitchen.

grew up in a family that always cooked and rarely ate out. My wonderful mom had dinner on the table every day with a homemade dessert almost every weekend. I didn’t realize how lucky I was until I moved out on my own and had to start doing the cooking myself!

Many of my recipes are inspired by my friends, family and surroundings. My family roots go back to Louisiana, with my Granny, Juanita, being the best first cook I knew. You should definitely try her gumbo! Followed by my Mom, Ellen, who was born in Louisiana, but spent most of her life in Texas. And like any good Texas woman, she knew her way around a casserole and always had everything on hand to whip up a good easy dessert. Her Banana Pudding is legendary. My Mom is the QUEEN of an easy dinner, and has always helped me with recipes here on The Novice Chef, so during the lockdown in 2020, I convinced her to start another recipe site with me called Easy Dinner Ideas.

Growing up in Texas, I formed a deep love for TexMex and authentic Mexican food. Many of my best friends were Mexican and I loved getting to eat in their homes and learn to make their recipes. My final year living in Texas, I worked at a famous TexMex place, Pappasitos, where my love only intensified. When I moved to Florida it was a complete culture shock. There was no good Mexican or TexMex food anywhere near us. That’s when I started begging old friends for their families recipes and pouring over books about Mexican food. I just couldn’t live without Tamales, freshly made Huevos Rancheros, and Chorizo!

Soon after moving, I met Jorge and we took our first trip to Puerto Rico together, with a new work friend Christina, who is also from Puerto Rico. We stayed with her parents and went all around the island trying different Puerto Rican delicacies. On that trip, a whole new love affair with all things Latin food began. Once we were stateside again, I begged Christina to come over and teach me all the wonderful Puerto Rican ways. We would spend hours driving all around town to the different Latin supermarkets to get all the ingredients together for our epic feasts.

Jessica Segarra and Jorge Segarra in Puerto Rico standing side by side in front of a Puerto Rican flag at a restaurant.

Living in the melting pot that is Florida, I am constantly learning about different cuisines and cultures. If you didn’t know, Florida not only has a large Latin community, but it also has a large Greek community as well. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to learn how to make great Greek Chicken Souvlaki and so much more from our Greek friends.

You will find influences from all of these very diverse backgrounds in the recipes that I share. I love making foods from all different cultures and am always excited to share those recipes with all of you! Eating the same thing every week can get incredibly boring, but if you stick with me, I promise to keep things interesting!

Jorge Segarra

Hi there, I’m Jorge Segarra. I was born in Puerto Rico and moved stateside when I was in elementary school. I grew up with three siblings and grew up with a strong Puerto Rican single mom who taught us how to work hard. Growing up, food was a major part of our day to day life. From my Abuela’s Tostones, to my Mom’s Arroz Con Gandules and Pernil, or eating many of the delicious fried options at the seaside food shacks in Piñones, food is like home to me.

Jorge Segarra sitting at an outside table at a restaurant.

As a kid, I spent many a summer back at home in Puerto Rico staying with my Abuela and my Titi Myrna. My memories are filled with days at the beach, playing baseball with my cousins, and stuffing myself with Maduros until I made myself sick.

Today with young kids of my own, I don’t get back to the island nearly as often as I would like. So food has become the easiest way to get that taste of home and how I share some of our culture with my own kids.

As of today, I’m a former IT professional (I worked for Microsoft until 2021) who retired early to be a full-time stay at home dad and to share my Puerto Rican recipes. Thanks to my wife’s amazing platform, I’m hoping I can share some of family’s love and food with everyone! If I can only convince you try one Puerto Rican dish, make sure you try our version of a coconut eggnog, Coquito!

FAQS

Do you have a cookbook?

Yes, in 2012 I wrote and photographed two cookbooks all on my own (Mini Donuts and Cereal Sweets & Treats) back to back and swore I’d never do another one! And to date, I have not done another traditional cookbook. I do have some great ebooks though if you are looking!

How often do you share new recipes?

While it can vary month to month, you can usually expect a new recipe almost every day! Each recipe you find on The Novice Chef has been double tested by myself and an outside recipe tester. In the recipe post, you will always find many tips, tricks and ingredient alternatives to ensure your success.

How do I get notified of new recipes?

You can find our newest recipes on our homepage or you can join our email list to have them shared with you weekly! Another great way is to follow along on social media: FacebookInstagramPinterestTikTok, and Youtube.

How do I find a recipe using a certain ingredient?

I have a handy Recipe Index built directly into my site! You can search by ingredient, type of dish or even by holiday. It’s incredibly easy to use and will help you find exactly what you are looking for.

What’s your go-to recipe for dinner?

I love this question and I think it depends on the situation! 

Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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