Chef at Jesuit Novitiate Finds God in the Kitchen


As the host of an Ignatian cooking show, Ruthie Blacksea knows how to whip up a mean cocktail or crostini.

Off-air, the Catholic also knows how to make kitchen time prayerful. Blacksea, who’s the chef at the Jesuit novitiate in Los Angeles, finds that switching off music and tuning into God turns cooking into a spiritual experience.

“Looking at all of these fruits and vegetables that were grown here, transforming them and in turn, that day feeding 28 mouths with this food I just prepared, it’s very prayerful,” said Blacksea in the video above.

Blacksea brings that passion for food and faith to Pre-Prans with Ruthie, a cooking show from the IN Network. The show highlights the Jesuit community-building tradition of preprandials (the time before dinner when appetizers and cocktails are served), offering easy-to-make recipes.

In this video, Blacksea shares how her food and faith intersect, whether she’s making her mother-in-law’s homemade chicken noodle soup or preparing Thanksgiving dinner for her 12 siblings and their families.

Here are a few quick-fire favorites from the video:

Favorite meal to cook: Thanksgiving. “It’s always the same food, it never changes. And it’s the one time of the year I’m guaranteed to be with all my family.”

Favorite dish: Her mother-in-law’s homemade chicken noodle soup. “I’ve been making it for 30 years.”

Our favorite quote: “You can find prayerfulness at your kitchen table—it doesn’t have to be in a big novitiate. You can find it.”

Ruthie’s Chicken Noodle Soup

1 cut-up chicken (boil in water until it falls off of the bone, shred the chicken, and set aside)
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 celery stacks, diced
4 carrots, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
16 oz. egg noodles
24 oz. chicken stock or broth
2 eggs, beaten
3 lemons

Sauté your "trinity" of onion, celery and carrots in the olive oil until onions are translucent, salt and pepper to taste.

Cover with your stock or broth and add egg noodles. Cook over medium heat until noodles are soft. You may need to add a bit more liquid. Once noodles are soft, stir in the shredded chicken and slowly swirl in your beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Cook for another 10 minutes over medium heat.

Add the juice of three lemons and check for seasoning. Pour yourself a bowl and enjoy! Please feel free to add diced potatoes, zucchini, whatever you like.