The Truth About Megan Brown From Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets

With Alton Brown's vast cooking knowledge and strong opinions to match, his new Food Network show has fans very interested. The series, "Chopped: Alton's Maniacal Baskets," will have chefs competing in three rounds that will include appetizers, entrées and desserts. However, the ingredients that they'll find in their baskets will be anything but ordinary. The goal of each episode, is to see what unique and delicious creations they can make out of the strange items they're given. One cheftestant that everyone should keep an eye on is the talented Megan Brown.

Brown told Hub Culture that she grew up in Chicago surrounded by chefs in her family, so it was always something she was interested in. But she explained that her adolescence was a really tough time for her and she ended up dropping out of school, and becoming homeless by the time she was just 24. Motivated to do something more, Brown decided to get her GED and pursue culinary school. "I know that food saved my life," she told the outlet. "Finding my career in food really grounded me."

Megan Brown has worked with some very talented chefs

The chef said that she decided to shoot for the stars and apply to her dream school — the Culinary Institute of America in New York (via Hub Culture). She was accepted, and the school even helped her pay her way through. Brown explained that while she was there she was able to learn from incredible chefs like Marcus Samuelsson, who helped her prepare for her work in the future. Brown then went on to work for James Beard Award winner, Michael Cimarusti, at his acclaimed restaurant, Best Girl. The downtown Los Angeles eatery features seasonal fare like Portuguese Fisherman's Stew and Jidori Brick Chicken. 

Brown also likes to get involved in causes that help to make a difference. She lends her hand at Gastromotiva, which is a social gastronomy movement that believes in the "transformative power of food." The chef told Hub Culture that the mission resonates with her because the organization talks about the importance of finding dignity through food, which is exactly what working in food has done for her. Brown explained it's important to her that she creates "safe spaces for diverse people to have dignity in what they do and also to eat healthily."