WAXAHACHIE — In a place where books come to life, the Nicholas P. Sims Library is hosting Texas celebrity chef Sarah Penrod to help local cooks expand their cuisine palate.

“We are very excited that Sarah is coming,” expressed Nicole Matthews, outreach and programming coordinator at the Sims Library. “If you’re a fan of Food Network then you will love her.”

“She’s never been to the library before, but she’s an awesome chef that has cooked for tons of celebrities and does a lot of very healthy eating, like paleo and vegan dishes, and all kinds of cool stuff. I think people will really enjoy her,” she added.

With a magnetic personality that radiates a southern charm, Penrod has appeared on countless shows that include Food Network, The Rachel Ray Show, Texas Monthly, The Blaze, Good Morning Texas, and much more.

“I’m a Texas girl,” began Sarah Penrod of Sarah Penrod Personal Chef Services and author of Urban Cowgirl. “So I thought I was super normal and that the rest of the country knew what Tex-Mex was, but when I’m outside of Texas, I stick out like a sore thumb with my ‘yall’s’ and everything.”

“Then when I’m home in Texas, I feel so normal and comfortable because it’s so different out there, but in Texas, I’m just one of the gang. So I’m excited about coming to Waxahachie where I can be one of the gang,” she included.

Offering Penrod’s expertise as a complimentary community event, Matthews notes that residents will need to register for free on either the Library’s website or by calling a librarian.

In addition to Penrod’s “tell all” tips and tricks of the trade, she will also be debuting her new book “Urban Cowgirl” during Saturday’s event.

“I had a book come out in May, and it’s doing really good,” Penrod acknowledged.

With a five-star rating on Amazon, Penrod mentioned that her book has become a bestseller as one of the top 10 southwestern cookbooks and she was named the lead author for Lone Star Books.

“My whole cookbook is like having a funny conversation with a friend,” Penrod described. “It’s like a storybook cookbook and some of my tales growing up in Texas and life here.”

From 150 “treat yo-self” recipes to step-by-step canning traditions and trip advice for iconic Texas locations, Penrod's book encourages a stylish self-sustaining lifestyle.

“Part of it is the traditional stuff like breakfast sides, entrées, and then it has funny kitchen projects like how to make your own wine or kombucha and many different things like that,” Penrod listed.

“And then in the middle section is more bath and body stuff, like how to make your own lip bomb and soap, because so much of my audience is women that are moms just like me. But the last section of the book gets into the heart of Texas, like stopping at Buc-ee’s or Corpus Christi, Galveston, and recipes from those areas,” she discussed.

"You’re just going to be able to read it and be in on an ‘inside joke’ because you know everything I’m talking about,” Penrod laughed.

After graduating Le Cordon Bleu, the Texas chef became a finalist on season ten' Food Network Stars in 2014, launching her career to serve an audience of well-known recognition.

With over nine years of experience as a professional private chef, Penrod has served as an ambassador to the White House for the Chefs Move to Schools Project, and is currently focusing on cooking for distinguished athletes, and growing her business.

Capturing not only southern dishes but the culture that lies within southwest traditions, Penrod goes on to note that this weekend will only add to the love of her state and the people in it – especially the kids.

“There are a lot of outrageous expectations for kids to grow to be the next Guy Fieri or Gordon Ramsay, but the reality of that is not quite a ‘bubblegum dream,’” Penrod expressed.

“And in order for a dream to get there, you have to have a path. For me, it’s exciting to have been successful enough to have a great business and to be able to write a cookbook and share it with other culinary locals,” she added. “I’m looking forward to coming and sharing my experience.”

Both Penrod and Matthews invite the community to join this special event, not only for fun prize drawings but to ignite the southern spark in the everyday kitchen.

“I like getting all of these Texas people here at the library,” Matthews expressed her excitement. “Because there are a lot of talented people that live in the vicinity, and getting a chance to not only come but talk to the community and meet people – I just love it.”

The event will be this Saturday, August 26, at 12 p.m., located at the library on 515 West Main Street. The event is free to the community. To register and for more information, visit simslib.org or call (972)-937-2671.


Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer