Texas Chef Lauren Marchetti, With a Recipe for Meatloaf

‘The mission is to bring peace and joy into the home,’ she said.

Lauren Marchetti
Lauren Marchetti (photo: Courtesy Photo)

A resident of Friendswood, Texas, a town near Houston, a Catholic and professional chef Lauren Marchetti strongly embraces both her faith and her love of cooking. She was raised in a devout Catholic family and went to college to study food science and technology and the science of food development.

“I wanted to be a chef,” she said, “and with my food life and after college, I did a culinary apprenticeship. I worked there for three years at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. I also worked as a chef for several years and the restaurant life was very intense. I got burned out and then went to work for Whole Foods for four years in the prepared-foods department. I managed all foods put together in their prepared-foods department.”

Marchetti noted that her interest in cooking centered around family gatherings. Her mom did the baking and insisted on starting from scratch.

“And I have an uncle who was a caterer and chef,” she said. “We spent holidays at his house, a big family event. Before Christmas, I would even shuck oysters at his shop. My parents noticed my interest in cooking when I was in high school, so they would take the family and pick a new restaurant in Houston and have fun for our birthdays.”

Marchetti said her favorite cuisine would be the dishes from the chefs she trained under.

“It is mostly French,” she said. “And I love dishes that take a long time to braise, with seasonings, and searing, and having to cook in the oven a long time. They develop a lot of flavor and the textures are very tasty. But my favorite dish is really meatloaf. It is a comfort food. My mom cooked this really well, using an Ina Garten recipe. It is so easy, tasty and comforting, and not like something I would expect.”

Now a cook-at-home mom who cares for her three boys, Marchetti does not think she will go back into the restaurant business, although she might consider it if the circumstances were right. But she now spends her free time as a volunteer for an organization called Art of Living for Women.

“The mission is to bring peace and joy into the home,” she said. “If we can equip women to work at home more easily there will be more joy and peace in home. I have done many cooking classes for them and that has been a real joy to give them joy in their lives … cooking, prepping, and hopefully making these tasks easier.  I have been inspired by Josemaría Escrivá and it has been really exciting doing that.”

Marchetti said her Catholic faith has been transformative in her life.

“I met my husband,” she said, “and before that, I was part of the Catholic Church, and I knew I wanted to stay Catholic. I answered my college roommate’s questions and came to understand the tenets of our faith and the whole liturgical calendar. I learned all the ways to worship our Lord — it is a total communion of faith and involves a whole life. … Opus Dei shows me the importance of having Catholic faith.”

Recipe: Mini Meatloaf  

Serves 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup ketchup


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the onion, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Remove from the heat. Add the chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, breadcrumbs and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Divide the mixture into six (10- to 11-ounce) portions and shape each portion into a small loaf on a sheet pan. Spread about 1 tablespoon ketchup on top of each portion.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 155 to 160 degrees, and the meat loaves are cooked through. Serve hot.