Loco had the rare opportunity to catch our beloved Loco Chef Sara outside of her Loco race kitchen and capitalized on the opportunity with an impromptu interview. Keep reading to find out how not to cook potatoes, who the Loco Sammie is, what our favorite chef is up to this October and more! A huge thank you to Chef Sara for taking the time to walk down memory lane with us and give us a few good laughing fits along the way.
A Very Loco Interview
LOCO: Who are you and what is your involvement at Loco?
SARA: I'm really still trying to figure that out! I'm still learning how to be the person I want to be. But for now, I have learned that my name is Sara Ellen and I am Loco AF. I am also know as Chef Sara, sexy bunny, and horse eyes big foot thunder clapper, but that's a long story! I started my Loco journey in 2014 as a volunteer massage therapist for some kind of foot race in the woods. After helping the runners after that first race, I was hooked! I begged Karey to help in any way possible and boy did she run with that! She tried everything to find a good fit for me. I did sweep on my mountain bike, I ran aid stations, I helped with set up and tear down, I did pre-race prep of swag and medals, I did team artwork, aid station menus, you name it, Karey had me do it! It wasn't until she found out that I could cook did she find the perfect spot for me. My home is now and has been for some time, the Loco Kitchen.
LOCO: Name 2 things you love about Loco and one thing that drives you nuts.
SARA: I love my Loco Family! Our Loco Crew are tight! We know how to work so well as a team. We know each other well enough to see a distressed look from across the forest, check in, and fix the problem. We have each other's backs! And the other thing I love most about Loco is our runners! We could not have a more passionate, dedicated, bad ass, group of Loco runners! Their enthusiasm and endurance through the worst of weather and obstacles, and their positive attitudes through the longest distances make my time spent well worth it! You runners are the Rockstars! The only thing that comes to mind that drives me nuts about Loco is when I get cold. 🥶 When I get cold it is nearly impossible to warm up again. I try to be prepared for that with gloves, heated socks, beanies, and so many layers I feel like the little brother from A Christmas Story trying to walk around in his snow suit. So as soon as Karey can control the weather, Loco will be perfect!
LOCO: How has the post-race meal & kitchen evolved since you have taken over as Chef Sara, head of the Loco Kitchen?
SARA: I've been doing this so long that I don't exactly remember what the post-race meal used to consist of. I know at one point we made a breakfast burrito for the post-race meal, but that's a long time ago. Since becoming Chef Sara, I have tried to expand the kitchen and make it more vegan friendly. I brought a double burner stove and vegan griddle to the kitchen. Karey liked my stove so much she bought the same one for the race. We kept getting more kitchen gear to the point that we outgrew the kitchen! We went from a 10 x 10 pop up to needing a 10 x 20 pop up and a 10 x 10 pop up in front. The extra space gives me and the kitchen crew the needed room to dance around each other with elegance and poise. And our flat top griddle is out of this world! It has been lovingly cleaned and seasoned over the years. It's my race baby! And I do baby it! Without it, Sammy would have never been born.
LOCO: Who the Loco is Sammie?
SARA: Sammie is our kitchen mascot, but more importantly he is the star of our post-race meal! We took a plain old grilled cheese sandwich and made him Loco! We add all the crazy yummy toppings to make your mouth explode! And the best part of Sammie is he's here to please you! You can customize him to fit your post run needs and desires. And he is vegan and GF friendly! Stuffed so full of goodness and love he sometimes gets messy but is always worth it!
LOCO: We know you make the most delicious, kickass post-race meal in all the forest, but we also heard that for 3 nonstop days, you throw down the gauntlet and make every meal at Trail Camp?! What are you serving up at Camp this October?
SARA: I cannot wait for our fall Trail Camp this year! I am super excited to chef it up for you! Friday night we are going to throw down an awesome taco bar with all the fixings! We will have gluten free and vegan options as well. Saturday we will wake up with some of our favorite Long Run Coffee, and the full Loco Breakfast including Fruit Salad, Bacon, Eggs, Pancakes, and Oatmeal with all the Toppings you could imagine & more! We will cruise through lunch with our favorite friend Sammie! He will bring all his warm gooey goodness to the party! And for dinner Saturday as the chill sets in we will warm ourselves around the fire with some hot Creamy Bacon Potato Chowder, homemade rolls, and side salad. Sunday we will switch things up a bit by starting our day with our favorite Long Run Coffee, and the full Loco Breakfast of Fruit Salad, Bacon, Eggs, Pancakes, and Oatmeal with all the Toppings you could imagine & more! And for lunch, we will say one last sad goodbye to our dear friend Sammie, and all his delicious shenanigans, that is until next year.
LOCO: One more question…rumor has it, somewhere high on Colby Mountain, long before you were officially Chef Sara, you were put on potato restriction. What happened?
SARA: Well, I kinda refused to make potatoes at my aid station. I couldn't get any of the runners to eat them, they were a pain in the butt to try and keep warm up on that cold mountain, and they smelled like a football locker room! I, for the life of me, couldn't figure out why Karey kept putting them in my aid station bin! I had never seen canned potatoes in my life before! The directions with how to prepare them was to open the can, slice them in 1/2 or 1/4 for big ones, and serve them with salt. So, I would open a can, slice them up, dump the can in a pot, heat them up, and sprinkle salt on them. Well after trying to keep them hot all day and all night they reeked! And they started to disintegrate into the water and become soup like in texture. I had never heard of canned potatoes and wasn't about to taste one if they smelled as bad as they did after simmering all day. So, when the sweep would come by and tell me the last runner was in, I donated the potatoes to the forest friends, and proceeded to pack up the aid station. I think I donated a can of potatoes each race that year before I was moved into the Loco Kitchen. After a couple of years, I saw potatoes at the start finish line aid station and was shocked!!! They just sat there, drained and sliced in a bowl, next to a bowl of salt!!! I asked Karey why the potatoes weren't hot, and she said "What do you mean? You've had race potatoes at your aid station before" So I told her what I just told you about these stinky potatoes, and she started crying she was laughing so hard! She had always been so confused as to why my aid station always had left over potatoes and the truth finally came out! So I am now completely banned from race potatoes!
One more big thank you to Chef Sara for such a fun time dishing out the ish on everything that makes Loco so yummy. Check back frequently for more great interviews to eat up!
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