Washington State Chef's
Member Spotlight - April 2012
My love for cooking started when I was very little. I remember sitting on the counter watching my mother cook the nightly dinner from scratch. I can still make some of her dishes from memory because I watched her make those so many times. I never really took up cooking while I was young, but always remembered how amazed I was at my mother’s cooking. She could take a bunch of ingredients and create something wonderful and delicious. I never understood how she did it.
After high school, I received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Western Washington University and had every intention of going to law school. Instead I spent the next 12 years working in the automotive industry. In college I discovered my love of cooking. I used to cook for my friends and would love how excited they would get when I brought out the dish.
A few years ago I knew I wanted to attend culinary school. I was unhappy with my previous profession and I knew I needed a change. Once I made up my mind to go back to school, things just started to fall into place. I was laid off of my job, which was a blessing. I was able to use unemployment and the state workers retraining program to follow my dream and go to culinary school. I researched local culinary schools and chose Lake Washington Institute of Technology.
LWIT has been a great fit for me. My instructors are some of the best in the business. They have been there when I needed them, and they have stepped back at times to allow me to develop my own style of cooking. I participated in the ACF Salon Competition in 2011 and the Northwest Chowder Competition in October 2011, placing 3rd. I am the Captain of the LWIT Knowledge Bowl Team which recently won the ACF Western Region Knowledge Bowl in Reno, Nevada. We will be traveling to Orlando in July to represent the Western Region at the ACF National Knowledge Bowl Championships. We have had tremendous support from the school and great coaching from our instructors.
I will graduate from LWIT in June and I look forward to a long and prosperous career in the foodservice industry.
In 5 years I would like to:
be running a kitchen. I want to be in a place that I can be creative and have some sort of freedom. I am a big believer of the farm to table movement that is currently sweeping through the culinary industry. I would love to be in a place that is making a point to use fresh local products. If I am not running a kitchen I would like to be in a place where I am continually learning. I am always looking to learn more about food and what is being done with it. I never want to stop learning. My immediate plans are to finish out my final quarter of school, and to prepare myself and my team to bring home the gold from the ACF Knowledge Bowl National Championships this July.
What the ACF means to me:
I am a fairly new member to the ACF but I have already started reaping benefits. The Western Regional Conference allowed me to see how involved the ACF is in all aspects of our industry. Through seminars, I learned that I really didn’t know as much about pasta as I thought I did, what spices look like in their raw forms, and how to make the perfect crab cake. To me, the ACF is a collaboration of people all wanting the same thing, to serve our customs the finest products prepared with the highest of standards. The ACF is about continuing to educate their members so that they can be the best in the industry.
View his favorite recipe below…
Yield: Serves 4
- 2 live lobsters (1-2 lb. each)
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 lb. butter
- 2 quarts water
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sherry
- 1/4 cup brandy
- white pepper and salt, to taste
- Place the lobsters in a large heavy pot. Cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer 10 to 12 minutes more. Drain and plunge into cold water to arrest further cooking. Extract the meat, chop it and set it aside.
- Place the lobsters’ remains in a roasting pan with the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves and butter. Roast in a preheated 400°F oven for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and strain off the butter into a heavy saucepan. Place the remaining contents of the roasting pan into the 2 quarts water and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain the stock.
- Heat the butter in the saucepan. Add the flour and cook the roux for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock and blend well. Then add the cream, Sherry and brandy.
- Simmer slowly for 30 minutes. Season with white pepper and salt to taste.
- Strain the bisque and add the lobster meat.
- Serve immediately.