Washington State Chef's
Member Spotlight - October 2009
Mark Linden CEC AAC
Member Since: 1984
I remember a day in the fall of 1975 when a buddy of mine in middle school challenged me to take a cooking class specifically for guys. It was titled Food Chefs 1. I took him up on the bet because the only other option was drafting and I had already taken that. So the condition was that he had to come with me. The rest is history; he went into the Coast Guard and I into the kitchens. I have been blessed with a great occupation and career these past 32 years that has been a lot of fun along the way. Along with that has come some great kitchen experiences with chef’s who were passionate about what they did and were eager to pass it along. I truly believe that the first chef you have sets the tone for what is to come in your decision to follow his/her footsteps. So I to have tried to follow that example, along the way I have had to tell a few that maybe being in the kitchen was not the right thing for them, rather find out now, make a few changes and enjoy life. As we all know it can get quite brutal and intense in the places we work.
My true passion is:
If I had to pick an item I would probably say that working on the line in the thick of the rush is truly exhilarating to me. The chance to take on the beast we call the rush, stay out of the weeds and come out at the end of the night with no returns, a happy crew and pleased guests, toast it off with a cold beer and try again the next day. Why, because it makes you think on your feet, calls on all of your cooking reserves and temperament to pull it off. Plus gives you the chance to show your cooks that you still have it in you and that you can do what it is that you are asking of them, to cook consistently, follow the basics, and make sure that it follows the specifications that were developed.
In 5 years I would like to:
Retire. Enough said… Seriously I would like to have developed a model culinary program that feeds the elderly, giving them a measure of dignity in the last years of their life. God has blessed me with a talent, that my parents allowed me to sow. I have been an executive chef in fine hotels, owned my own catering company that required often times doing events hundreds of miles from my kitchen, developed safety measures for a remote site catering company as well as consulted to many other food service operations on how to better their operations. Cooked on boats, trains, planes and in the middle of nowhere and turned a FedEx hanger into a dining room for 1500 people, only to find there were no lights for the kitchen areas. Of all these experiences none has been as gratifying as my current position as Director of Dining Services for Exeter House. Now comes the time to put back into the community what I have been so blessed with.
What the ACF means to me:
I have been involved with the ACF for nearly 25 years. I have been fortunate to have held all the offices, attended many conferences’, as well as develop the certification program for the state of Alaska. Getting six chefs certified to be able to proctor the test in Alaska. I believe that the ACF offers the best opportunities for young and old culinarians to better their craft. It is not a competition amongst those in the organization but a competition inside your self to truly be the best you can be. Being certified is a worthy pursuit and in time it will pay the dividends that it was designed for. I look forward to being an active member to the WSCA and am here to assist anyone who needs some help along the way.
Having been inducted into the American Academy of Chefs has been a highlight along the way and again reinforces our main job as a chef and that is to pass along the right principles and integrity of our profession.
View his favorite recipe below…
SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH CHANTERELLES AND TOMATOES
- 8 oz Fresh Cleaned Chanterelles
- 4 oz Diced heirloom tomatoes
- 1 oz fresh basil, chiffonade
- 6 ea Eggs
- 3 T Butter
- Dash Salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 2 T minced chives
- 2 T Cream
- 1 oz Smoked Mozzarella cheese
- Wine: A nice Sauvignon Blanc
- Pick Mushrooms with a good friend
- Clean and pat dry
- Add half of butter to pan, add mushrooms and tomatoes, sauté, season
- Add remaining butter, scramble eggs and cook lightly, fold in remaining ingredients and mushroom mix.
- Serve over lightly toasted whole grain bread
- Enjoy with the Wine and fellowship