Blind Kitchen: Chef Jason Gentles vs Chef Yesenia Melo

Mary Staes

Mary Staes

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Mary Staes

“Blind Kitchen” is a quirky food competition series, local chefs recreate each other’s signature dish, but they can only determine what the dish is using their senses of taste, touch and smell. Each chef is blindfolded during a down-and-dirty guessing phase and when the masks come off, the heat is on, with both chefs cooking what they believe is their opponent’s creation. The chefs are competing for bragging rights and a donation to their favorite charity.

In this episode, Jason Gentles, executive chef of Sahel Restaurant & Lounge in Lowell, and Yesenia Melo, chef/owner of Jessy’s Clean Meals in Lawrence, face off to see who can recreate each other’s signature dish. 

Each recreated meal will be judged on:

  • Percentage of correct ingredients
  • Similarities in flavor and plating
  • Re-creation as a stand-alone dish

Chef Jason Gentles: Squash

An 18-year restaurant industry veteran and winner of the 2020 Boston Jerkfest, Jason Gentles has been honing his craft since childhood (his first memory is cooking with his mom in Jamaica). As the executive chef of Sahel Restaurant & Lounge, Jason specializes in Afro-Caribbean cuisine.

Signature Dish: Red Bean Butternut Squash

Red beans, cauliflower, green beans, butternut squash, coconut milk, garlic, onion, ginger, baguette

Chef’s Choice Charity: The Greater Boston Food Bank

The Greater Boston Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England, distributing over 60 million lbs of food annually directly to those in need across 190 cities and towns.

Chef Yesenia Melo: Seafood

A culinary school graduate, Yesenia “Jessy” Melo started her business after seeing a need for healthy lunch and dinner options for busy commuters. As the chef/owner of Jessy’s Clean Meals in her hometown of Lawrence, Jessy brings a fresh take to each meal she creates, whether she’s cooking for friends, family or the locals.

Signature Dish: Seafood Pasta

Scallops, shrimp, garlic, shallot, lemon, sun dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, linguine pasta 

Chef’s Choice Charity: Bread & Roses

Since 1980, Bread & Roses has been providing hot meals, pantry support, medical services, case management and community food outreach to thousands of people in need across the Merrimack Valley.

Meet The Judge: George Ramirez

George is the executive director of The Lawrence Partnership, a business collaborative that works to amplify the economic viability of Lawrence. The Revolving Test Kitchen, where today’s episode takes place, is a shared culinary workspace that serves to benefit food entrepreneurs and is one of The Lawrence Partnership’s many inclusive economic development initiatives.

Want to see who wins?

You can watch this episode, “Blind Kitchen: Pork Chop,” on the Very Local channel. You can stream all of the episodes of Blind Kitchen for free.

Looking for more Boston eats…

We’ve got more episodes of “Blind Kitchen” for you to stream on the Very Local channel.

Plus, check out our guide to the best international food stores in Boston and learn more about the history of America’s first chocolate mill in Lower Mills.

Stay Tuned

Our new show “Boston Rob Does Bean Town” is coming in April. Follow @verylocalboston on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

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Blind Kitchen Boston

Available to stream now on the Very Local Channel In this quirky food competition series, local chefs recreate each other’s signature dish, but they can only determine what the dish is using their senses of taste, touch and smell. Each chef is blindfolded during a down-and-dirty guessing phase and when the masks come off, the […]

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