Washington State Chef's
Member Spotlight - February 2010
Stefanie Branica CCC
Seattle Native, Food Safety Educator, Caterer and Chef
Working her way up through ranks of Seattle Public School’s Child Nutrition program to Head Cook and looking for extra income, Chef Branica started her own off-premises catering business. With some invaluable help and advice from Chef Darrell Anderson CCE, CEC, AAC, she became an enthusiastic small business owner and opened Stefanie’s Catering. It was during this time she had the privilege of serving as the editor of the local WSCA newsletter and as Secretary of the Washington State Chef’s Association. Her hard work and dedication to the profession brought her the WSCA’s 1998 Chef of the Year Award.
Following 5 years of school lunchroom management, catering experience and coupled with her knowledge of child nutrition Chef Branica landed the Executive Chef and Dietary Manager Position at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital. Responsibilities included the feeding of hospital patients, the feeding of visitors and staff in the hospital cafeteria and developing a robust in-house catering department. With a staff of 75 employees, working in the healthcare field proved challenging and rewarding and she put Stefanie’s catering n hold.
Chef Branica’s work at Children’s led to a newfound expertise in food safety and sanitation. She so enjoyed training her staff, she left Children’s to pursue education as a full time career. As Education Specialist for King County Public Health, Chef Branica teaches the Food Worker Card Training classes. Together with her King County Education team, Chef Branica annually distributes over 50,000 Food Worker cards in the King County area.
Last year Chef Branica was the WSCA Chapter chairperson of the Western Regional Chef’s Conference in Seattle and was awarded a trophy from past president of the Western Region, Chef Harry Brockwell.
Missing the thrill of the kitchen and catering business, Chef Branica dreams of re-opening Stefanie’s Catering. But with any culinary career, anything is possible in the next phase of her culinary adventure.
View her favorite recipe below…
POACHED PEARS IN WINE SAUCE
-By Stefanie Branica
Yield: Serves Four
- 4 each – Bartlet or Bosc Pears (Hard or unripe is okay)
- 1 cup – Sugar
- 1 cup – Red Wine
- 4 tbsp. – Lavender Honey
- 4 tbsp. – Parmesan Cheese Curls
- Preheat over to 375F. Wash and dry the pears. Cut the bottoms from the pears so that they stand up in a roasting pan or pyrex dish.
- Place pears in pan and pour the sugar around the pears. Pour the wine over the sugar and bake the pears for 45-60 mins or until soft.
- Remove the pears from the oven to let cool slightly and reduce the juice in the pan by half or until it is a syrupy consistency.
- After cooled, place each pear on a dessert plate while the juice is reducing, drizzle a tbsp. of honey on each plate with the pear.
- Drizzle the reduced sauce over each pear and sprinkle with parmesan cheese curls.