Meet Chef Mo, An Allrecipes Cook to Follow

Maura Rawlette (@Chef Mo) is one of 60 million cooks who visit Allrecipes.com every month. Get to know this lactose-avoiding mom, shop manager, and Allrecipes Allstar*—and try one of her favorite recipes.

Allrecipes Allstar Chef Mo
Photo: Kathryn Gamble

About me: I'm 39 and live in King George, Virginia, with my son, Devin, and a soon-to-arrive little one by the end of the year. I manage a family glass shop.

Why I love cooking: The most gratifying part is hearing someone say, "This tastes great! How did you make it?"

Favorite Christmas tradition: My great-uncle passed down to me his spritz cookie press. My niece and great-niece use it to make cookies together at Christmastime. We love making them with some of my late grandma's cookie cutters and some new ones we've added to the bunch. We somehow end up with a lot of trout-shaped cookies, great memories, and lots of laughs, too!

My most popular recipes: People love my Golden Rum Cake. I didn't create this recipe, but if I ever bring a different recipe to gatherings of friends and family, they all ask why I didn't bring THE rum cake. I tweak it this way: Before turning out the cake, I poke holes in it with the back of a wooden spoon and pour in the glaze. I let the cake soak in all that glaze for several hours before turning it out. My Spicy Thai Basil Chicken gets a lot of raves, too.

Golden Rum Cake
Allrecipes Magazine

Few people know: I used to be an undercover liquor customer in Virginia. I would arrive and ask for alcohol and wait to see if they asked to see my ID.

Dealing with lactose intolerance: My 12-year-old son, Devin, was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. At first, changing over to lactose-free meals was really hard. I learned that even some French fries contain milk powder. That's when I realized I needed to cook from scratch. It really helped that as Devin got older, the number of nondairy milks at the market soared. Now they have so many substitutes for things, including cheeses.

My funniest food memory: Making cheese straws with my mom after seeing a TV special all about them. We were so excited, but they turned out to be a flop.

If I could have a superpower: It would be to know ALL the answers.

My closest thing to an actual superpower: Growing a garden.

Kitchen tool I can't live without: My food processor. I've started loving making homemade pizzas. Being able to shred cheese myself is great for all those cheeses no one thinks they want to eat.

Recent food discovery: Steamed artichokes. I had never eaten one or even seen one in person. They're fun to eat and simple to make!

Best advice I ever got: There's no need to rush.

My kitchen is: My place to escape and create meals using some of my favorite ingredients and new ingredients.

My hidden talents: Scrapbooking and leading kayaking tours on our creek.

Best cook I know: I actually never grew up with a cook I admired. I started watching Food Network, and from there, my love for cooking has just continued to grow.

Favorite thing to cook: Sweet potato fries and Thai food.

On my bucket list: To take my family on a cruise and to take up beekeeping!

My favorite part about living in Virginia: I love living in a small county. People know my uncles and aunts. There's an old man who puts his flowers out for sale in the morning, and he waves. It's great to smile and greet the people I have come to know growing up here.

Follow Chef Mo on Allrecipes. See more Allrecipes Cooks to Follow.

*Allstars are Allrecipes superfans, a select group of our most passionate and actively engaged community members. Find out how to become an Allrecipes Allstar.

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