John Marshall, a widower when he and Barbie were married, was also survived by two older children. "The irony is that he was living in Virginia with the [older] kids to get them out of Philadelphia," Barbie Marshall, 34, said in an interview.
For her next stage in life, it was she who moved out of Philadelphia with the kids. She found love with Ian Brendle, a farmer who owns Green Meadow Farm in Gap, Lancaster County, which serves many restaurants. She homeschools the two younger children — ages 13 and 15 — and works as a chef at S.O.O.P. Catering in Philadelphia and also helps Han Chiang, who owns the popular Han Dynasty restaurants.
Life in the sticks is a chef’s dream. "This is the most fertile nonirrigated soil in the country," she said, sounding like a tourism brochure. "We have access to all the best produce." She said her food is "impacted as little as possible."
Since she homeschools the children, she does not work full time in restaurants. "I can’t work 12 hours a day and be away from my kids. It’s an easy choice but a difficult choice as well. I love being a chef, but their needs have to come before everything else," she said.
The winner of the Hell’s Kitchen season will become a head chef at Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas.
The self-taught Christina Wilson, 33, who grew up in Phillipsburg, N.J., returned from taping the season and quit her job as chef de cuisine at Mercato, a BYOB in Center City. Don’t read anything into this, she said.
"I left for a dozen small reasons," she said. "One of the lessons [on the show] was that we have to have standards. Every dish has to go out to the same standard. It’s difficult to do that in a small Philadelphia BYOB where you’re doing 190 ‘covers,’ turning and burning. … It wasn’t the right fit for me." She wants to learn more about nutrition as she explores opening a lunch truck and, as she put it, "getting ahead of food trends."
Hell’s Kitchen looked easy from her vantage point in the living room. In person, it was "the hardest thing I’ve ever done," said Wilson, who entered West Chester University on a basketball scholarship. (She lost the scholarship and waited tables to afford tuition. She learned to cook by begging lessons from the kitchen and transferred to Temple University, where she picked up shifts in city restaurants.)
She viewed Hell’s Kitchen as a "job interview for a really spectacular job." After attending the casting call, and getting asked back in New York and Los Angeles, "the little milestones puff your chest out. Before I knew it, I was in a room with 30 people and they’ll take 18 of us."
"This was intense. You’re constantly in playoff mode. You don’t know what work is coming at you," she said. "I learned an immense amount. It would have taken me years to learn all of that."
Contact Michael Klein at email@example.com.
Hell’s Kitchen 8 p.m. Monday on Fox29