Chef Dafne Mejia
Born in Los Angeles in 1992, Chef Dafne is the daughter of Suyapa and Luis, first generation immigrants from Honduras. Dafne started her career by following the American Dream, seeking to fulfill her parents’ hope for a better life in the land of opportunity. En route to becoming an OBGYN, Dafne attended SFSU where she was a biology major and quickly realized this was not her dream, but the dream of her parents.
From early in her childhood, Dafne’s creativity was what brought her the most joy. As she realized medicine was not her true passion, she made a bold transition and decided to follow her heart to the creative arts. Committed to forging her own destiny, Dafne enrolled in The Art Institute of California - San Francisco where she graduated with an Associates degree of Science in the Culinary Arts. During her education, Dafne started apprenticing under a Certified Master Chef, learning the art of cooking at the highest level for four years.
Moving back to Los Angeles in 2015, Dafne began cooking as a private chef for Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham, a high profile assignment that catapulted her to a Sous Chef level. Following her time as a personal chef, Dafne was soon hired by a fine dining Vietnamese restaurant, allowing her to hone new skills, honor different traditions and discover a new level of respect for the sometime tedious process of cooking.
For most of her culinary career, Dafne’s primary love has been found in Italian cuisine. Her specialty, and most requested dish is born from the craft she’s perfected through more than ten thousand hours of meticulous work: Handmade Corn and Truffle Ravioli. Reminding her of her Latin American roots, Dafne fell in love with the culinary traditions of Italy as she proclaims, both cultures’ cuisines are “dominated by grandmas”. Following her passion for pasta, Dafne worked under many talented Italian Chefs, who all imparted their own expertise and artistry, ultimately inspiring Dafne to lean on her creativity in the kitchen.
In 2019 Dafne became the Executive Sous Chef at Spring Place, a private membership club in the heart of Beverly Hills. After helping to organize and build the restaurant from the ground up, Chef Dafne (and the rest of the culinary world) was rocked by the arrival of the pandemic. Though not discouraged for long, Chef Dafne was able to shift and once again, re-entered the private chef world.
While working as a Private Chef, Dafne was able to indulge in creativity, with social media and the kitchen as her playground, she experimented with primarily Italian cuisine.
While creating captivating stories of her pasta making endeavors to share with her followers, she began to gain some notoriety. Towards the end of 2021, Dafne was invited to join the world renowned cooking show, Hell’s Kitchen. She competed against 17 Chefs from all over the United States with Chef Gordon Ramsay as their mentor. Dafne went through many trials and
tribulations under the intense heat and stress (what Hell’s Kitchen is famous for). After 16 episodes, Dafne was the first person chosen to compete in the finals, and was the last woman standing in the competition.
Dafne had a victorious season full of many outstanding awards, including an editorial on Entertainment Weekly magazine, as well as being chosen by Danny Trejo for Best Taco. Her ‘Hellrizo’ was featured on the menu at Trejos Tacos for an entire month.
Chef Dafne ended her season on Hell's Kitchen as the runner up, and continues to inspire others with her playful sass and delicious food.