A Little History
I am originally from Salem, Massachusetts where I started my culinary adventure at the age of 14. I presently teach at Inland Northwest Culinary Academy, in Spokane, WA. I am a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in October of 1980. My culinary experiences have taken me all around the United States, working in ski resorts such as Taos, NM and Sun Valley, ID. I have worked in large hotels and small restaurants, primarily in fine dining establishments. I have learned from chefs who understood the responsibility to support local and seasonal foods. I have always been keenly aware of the connection between the earth and the food I cook. Much of my passion is connected to my Italian grandparents, who lived a simple sustainable life-style as a matter of everyday existence. In today's world of high impact on resources, it is imperative to teach and practice a more "slow foods" approach.
Why Do I Teach?
As I was finishing my education at the Culinary Institute, a chef told me, "Learn how to cook well before ever
taking a chef's job." I remember thinking all chefs must be the best cooks. My number one career goal in 1980 was to develop a
strong foundation in cooking based on the education that I had received. I also learned the importance of using local and seasonal
ingredients and the impact on the quality of food as well as supporting local economy. Throughout my career, I was fortunate to
work with a number chefs and cooks who cooked with conscience and understood the responsibility of creating foods with strong
attention to basic skills and respect for the food with which they were working. I learned this is how we honor our quest in our
restaurants and honor those chefs that came before us. It also shows respect for the earth and its creatures that provides us its
The food service industry is in great need of educated cooks and chefs. The industry does not have labor dollars to train as it did in the past. They are seeking (and paying well) people that are professional and understand professionalism, who can solve problems, show self-motivation, and cook with conscience.
I firmly believe that the chefs of this millennium will be responsible for teaching many people how to cook not only in their restaurants but also in homes. They must be experts in teaching as well as cooking. They must be educated and passionate about the future of food and cooking. They must understand the tremendous impact they will have on the future of food.
Our business is tough, the hours are long, and the work can be grueling at times. The industry is responding to these demands with better paying jobs and more and more balanced opportunities. Owners need chefs and cooks who can make their businesses flourish. Industry needs professionals that understand trends, make good decisions, stay current with information, are flexible enough to change quickly, and can speak with authority and with conviction and accuracy to help promote the profession.
Finally, this industry is steeped in history and tradition. To fully gain the value of cooking in today's business, we must respect those before us and appreciate the richness they have brought to our industry.