Ask A Chef is a part of an on-going series in which 5280 poses a single question to a local culinary luminary.

Tonight’s WomenCook! Dining For a Difference gala gathers Denver’s most talented female chefs to create signature plates for a good cause. Now in its 10th year, the annual event brings many of the city’s best restaurants together to support Work Options for Women, an organization dedicated to providing impoverished women education and job placement in the restaurant industry. Following our interview with Carrie Shores of Table 6, 5280 sat down with Sheila Lucero, executive chef at Jax Fish House, to talk to her about her participation in the event.

5280: How did you decide to become a chef, and what does it mean to you to participate in the WOW event?

SL: I’ve always enjoyed being in the kitchen, but I never thought about doing it professionally. That never resonated until after college. I played soccer in college and after, and when I saw that I couldn’t have a future in that, I went to culinary school. There are some similarities [between being] in the kitchen and on the field: the team aspect, the attention to detail, the intensity, the adrenaline. I have always been the type of person who works hard to prove myself and to accomplish the tasks in front of me.

I’ve been a part of the WomenCook! event since the first year, and every year it keeps getting more popular and bigger. It’s in its 10th year now and it’s such a great charitable cause. There have been a number of women in the program who have come to the event over the years, who are inspired by it and see what they can become professionally.

WomenCook! 2014 takes place tonight at Temple Emanuel (51 Grape St.) from 6–8:30 p.m. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased here.