Chef Sara Hauman from ‘Top Chef’ and her memorable trip to Tucson



Cook alongside Chef Maria Mazon, devour local bites and soak up the sun

Chief Maria mazon of BOCA Tacos y Tequila faced off against this season’s “Top Chef”, and although she was eliminated after being one of the last five contenders, she made many friendships along the way.

One of which was a chef Sara hauman from Portland, Oregon – where Season 18 was filmed.

Photo by Paul Holze

Earlier this month, Hauman packed his bags and headed to Tucson to cook alongside Mazon for a special dining experience.

The event sold out so quickly that many didn’t even know the dinner was taking place. Those who were able to attend the dinner had the chance to taste the cuisine of a duo of Top Chefs from two different culinary backgrounds.

That being said, Hauman has picked up a few techniques and ingredients that she plans to keep in her bag of tricks while cooking in Portland.

“I’m really happy to use as much chiltepin as possible,” said Hauman. “It was an ingredient that Maria brought to ‘Top Chef’ and it’s a chili that I don’t necessarily use or have access to. While there is intense heat, there is also a delicious acidity that it adds to food as well as a fruitiness.

BOCA Tacos and Tequila

Photo by Paul Holze

The chiltepin wasn’t the only hot thing when he visited.

“The heat in Tucson was a lot. Yes it is a dry heat, but it’s still 100 degrees, ”Hauman said. “I think it was actually warmer in the BOCA kitchen than outside sometimes. I feel like I acclimatized pretty quickly because when I got back to Portland I was shaking at around 70 degrees.

During her stint in season 18 of “Top Chef”, she had to compete with Mazon and didn’t have too many opportunities to choose her brain while she was in the kitchen. Although after spending time with her at BOCA, she was able to recognize that Mazon is someone “she admires”.

“My favorite part of working with Maria and her team was seeing her in her element,” said Hauman. “Seeing how Maria interacts with her employees and runs her business was such a treat and a reminder that she truly is such a patron.”

BOCA Tacos and Tequila

Photo by Paul Holze

Aside from the cuisine, there were a few other things on his mind during his trip to Old Pueblo. Eating was a priority and making sure she stopped at some of Tucson’s popular restaurants was one of them.

“I was spending some quality time with my mom when I visited Tucson, but we visited a few of Maria’s favorites,” Hauman said. “We went to Kingfisher for my mom’s birthday dinner and I indulged in all the seafood. We were all delighted and overwhelmed with the welcome. My mom and I also went to Lee Lee International Supermarket to get ingredients for my Instagram that week.

She also made sure to get a giant bowl of menudo when she visited. The name of the local spot she visited escaped her, but it certainly helped her feel better after a “big night of tequila.”

BOCA Tacos and Tequila

Photo by Paul Holzemaria

So what’s next for Chef Mazon when it comes to reliving her unforgettable moment on “Top Chef” and the connections she made? Well, she’s hoping to make more of these types of dinners with other chefs on the show.

BOCA Tacos y Tequila is located at 533 N. Fourth Ave. For more information, visit


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