An Introduction

An Introduction

I have been called Chef, Sous, Cook, Kitchen Bitch, Student, Teacher, Butcher, Writer, Eater and Father. It has been a trying journey at times and still I would never rethink a single step taken to lead me to this happines…

I officially started my culinary career on February 8th of 2007, the day I showed up to my first culinary class. Inspired and enthusiastic, a chubby little boy living in North Carolina had enrolled himself into cooking school in St.Paul/Minneapolis. 

Pastry at such a restaurant was a Whole New World

Pastry – The Fearrington House Piitsboro, NC

A 2 year Culinary program was merely a glimpse into a world that had been created by traditionalists, unorthodox artists, perfectionists, psychotic romantics, and everyone in between. Once out into the real world, I found that the more I opened my eyes, the less I knew. Off a whim and a severely co-dependent brother, I landed an internship at the Mobil Five Star/AAA Five Diamond Resort in North Carolina. My first night on the line was a wash; the Chef removed me and put me on pastry… I wasn’t ready for a kitchen of that caliber. It was in this time that I learned what it meant to push yourself when faced with challenge. Instead of allowing my ego to step in, I dug deep to prove that I belonged to the savory side of the kitchen.  I had no training in pastry; but that was irrelevant. Learning the sweeter more delicate side of this industry in such an elegant kitchen gave me a foundation. From there I would push myself to become noticed by the chef. I made it back to the savory line eventually; though it was short lived. Life happened a bit too fast and brought my time in North Carolina to a close.

I then went on to get lost somewhere deep in the Wisconsin North Woods. I worked as a “Sous chef” in the sticks for about a year and a half. On my off day (when the occasion allowed for an off day to pop up) I would day trip to Chicago or the Twin Cities for culture, life, noise, anything to help me feel as if I wasn’t loosing myself in the isolation of the midwest. I always brought back a smile, new inspirations and desire to grow.

A couple of days spent as a Stage in Chicago

A Stage in Chi-Town Tru, Chicago IL

As time continued; I grew reckless, discontent and hungry. After much deliberation, I returned to North Carolina with hopes of getting into the most exciting restaurant I could find. I found the Natural/Chic Five Star/Five Diamond Umstead Hotel & Spa just outside of Raleigh. the Hotel housed a restaurant that had everything I was looking for. Under the direction of Scott Crawford and his team of Chefs, Herons was quickly gaining recognition. After so much time isolated from “good food” or rather what I considered to be the world  I needed to prove to myself that my time spent in the sticks had not disrupted my path, I needed to know that I could still be a productive line cook, I needed to know that I could still cook good food. It was in this time I learned Discipline, Accountability, Expectation, Efficiency, Drive, and many more lessons on what it meant to cook real food, great.  

Quite possibly the most talented chefs I have worked with to date.

Heron’s Circa 2010.

While cooking for Scott Crawford (not in the above photo) and his all star cast, I was somehow able to find time to write and publish my First Book, Kitchen Bitch; I was also attempting to stage through the south east, most notably a stint in Patrick O’Connell’s Iconic Inn at Little Washington.

Say Cheese!

Again, After some time life had an unexpected twist. I found back to the North Woods; somehow changed. I began defining and discovering my own philosophies of cooking. I started Livegreatfood.com as a journal of my culinary exploits. I wanted to learn and explore everything food & drink. I wanted place to to relay the information and data I collected in food things as I came to understand it. I began cooking, writing and working as I saw fit. I was in my first Executive roll, and the menus were mine… well kinda. The only constant in my culinary escapades was the local simplicity. I would eagerly find a source for bison, and somewhere from “above” the dish got the ax due to a variety of reasons from cost, familiarity, perception of value… Etc. So, It was my food so long I stayed within an undocumented, uncommunicated set of guidelines that were in flux constantly.

Plating

Struggling to understand the madness in Cooking, Cleaning, Reading, Writing, Feeding, Eating, Teaching, Learning, Business, Pleasure… I begin to get lost somewhere inside myself only finding a constant unexplainable yearning for something great of my own; saudade.

 

Butcher Days

I stepped out of the professional kitchen in 2012. Lost, I turned to carnage; I wanted to mastering Butchery. It was been an obsession since day 1, I needed to understand the full circle. With the new hours wildly differing between a butcher shop and a kitchen I found time for me. I found time to cook the food I want to eat. I found time to educate myself. I found time to start my own business. I found time to love. Cooking has become something that defines who I am and what I want to do with my life. Deciding to cook, and striving to cook great, is a decision that consumes your life. As I continuously embark upon the cusp of my next endeavor; I push forward, always with food in mind.

I have found a solace in exploring the world of cookery and defining my own philosophy and path which merely urges people to Live Great Food. I hope you find answers & satisfaction in your visit.