food that is good for you and your communityFor me, food is about so much more than satiating hunger. Yes, we all have a basic biological need to eat in order to keep our body, as a living machine, running. A certain balance of this amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water [in very basic chemical terms] will allow us to survive. But why do we flambé? Why does the smell of pumpkin pie make some long for days gone by, or in my case, potato rolls smell like childhood evenings as we awaited my father’s arrival home from work, and subsequently dinner.
My mother continued this education. As a child, I learned that a well-balanced plate should be both tasty and colorful. All white or brown plates [or even brown and white plates were banned in my house. Every plate had colors on it from all over the spectrum. As my mother still says, a colorful plate is a healthy one. I also learned that in good food preparation, attention to detail is key. With a mother who was extremely health conscious, I learned what that final product should be. In the mid-eighties, pre Boca, my mother would shred carrots and zucchini, chop mushrooms and onions, cook bulgur wheat, and lentils, and hand-press veggie burgers to place on homemade bread for young children who wanted to eat McDonald's like all of our friends.
For all of the suffering I thought I went through--lentil loaves for Thanksgiving, carob chip cookies and homemade granola in college care packages--I learned several very important things.
First off, my mother did it because she cared. She loved us intensely, and cared that we learn how to make healthy food choices. For others, I strive to give them the same.
Secondly, I also had to cook—all kinds of food. I learned how to make all things vegan and vegetarian, as well as how to make a pork loin. If I wanted to eat meat--it was allowed in the house but she wouldn't prepare it—I had to learn to make it myself. I brined my first turkey for Thanksgiving dinner at age 14. I made my first "perfect" fried chicken dinner that same year. With a palate for copying anything I ate, I learned to eat something, and then figure out how to make it myself. The kitchen is my calm place and I share my calm with others through my food.
On to the technical stuff:
I began catering parties and events in 1998. I did it on the side: for experience and extra cash [mostly for friends and family] while I was in graduate school.
I graduated from the Art Institute of Phoenix in 2005 with an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts and as a Certified Chef.
I worked at the LV Bistro at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort in Scottsdale, AZ while I was in school.
My undergraduate degree is an Sc.B in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from Brown University. I was in graduate school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor pursuing a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology before I decided to leave the program and attend culinary school. This is opportunity to do both things simultaneously.