WELCOMEI’m Estefana Pagan

Once upon a time, I was a chef – tall hat, white coat, checked pants, the works!  I left the restaurant business in 2003 when my first child was born. Now, I’m cooking for my family and sharing all my tested and perfected recipes with you here. The recipes on this site reflect my life; as a mom, I need easy meals the whole family will enjoy but the chef in me needs to eat too!


  • Tested and perfected recipes that work for you the very first time
  • Step-by-step photos
  • Ingredient recommendations that take the guesswork out of grocery shopping
  • Menus for holidays, entertaining and everyday family meals


Do you have professional training?

Yes, I’m a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine. I also worked in the restaurant business, both front and back of the house, for many years before starting a family.

Do you have cookbooks?

Yes! You can read more about them on my cookbook page.

Who takes your photographs?

I take my own photographs for the blog using a Nikon Z6. (Some photographs on the blog are from my cookbooks, which were shot by professional photographers.)

Where do you get your recipes?

I develop most of my own recipes. On occasion, I’ll adapt a recipe from another source or share favorites from my cookbook collection (sources are always cited within the recipe post and on the printed recipe). Every recipe on this site has been tested multiple times and perfected by me in my home kitchen.

How can I subscribe to Once Upon a Chef?

Easy! Submit your email in the subscription box below.

How can I contact you?

If you have a specific question about a recipe, it is best to leave it in the comment section of the recipe. If you have a general question, please use the contact form at the bottom of every page. I do my best to respond to all questions and emails within a day or two.

Do you teach cooking classes?

Sorry, at the present time I do not.

Can I republish your recipes on my blog?

Sure, please just provide attribution and link to the original recipe.