My path along the road of delicacies and dishes has been constructed and influenced by many things including my family, my home, my education and my travels. This has all led me to develop my passion and commitment to great food.
A COOK’S ROOTS
My earliest memories were of my father (an osteopathic physician) discussing the power of food and how it affected me. I received nightly lectures about how my body was like a car and the food I ate was its fuel. The better quality fuel a car had, the better it ran. My mother was ahead of her time in understanding the importance of eating unprocessed, organic food. At the time, I was jealous of the other children’s neon colored, ultra sweet concoctions, but, as an adult I am extremely grateful I was raised with this foundation.
Beyond the nutritional aspects of eating, my family is obsessed with great food and fine dining. I am a third generation New Yorker whose great grandparents emigrated from Poland to New York’s Lower East Side where they opened an eatery. Every generation that followed continued to have a love affair with cooking and, of course, eating! Every phone conversation begins with what we ate or what we are planning to eat later. Growing up in New York City’s melting pot of culture and great food fostered my own curiosities, indulgences and love of food. I have come to relish the experience of trying new foods and learning about it as a personal exploration of pleasure and life experience.
Despite the food-centric life I formed for myself, in college I focused on gaining a BA in Developmental Psychopathology. During college, my older sister developed multiple, severe food allergies. She had a very hard time navigating her new diet, let alone eating at restaurants. Even the fine dining establishments we went to did not understand how to cook a meal for her that was both safe and delicious. She felt like she would never eat well again. I took on the challenge of trying to make creative restaurant quality food that also happened to be safe for her. Together we researched alternative products and cooking techniques. I learned that restriction did not equal deprivation; in fact, it opened me up to a multitude of culinary riches I would have never known existed. Her food allergies became an exciting expansive gastronomic adventure for me. Turning dietary challenge into an opportunity for culinary expansion became my philosophy of cooking and peaked my interest in the preparatory aspects of my relationship to food.
A CHEF IS BORN
I enrolled at the Institute for Culinary Education where classic French techniques were married with with Indian, Latin, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Italian cuisine. After school, I accepted an externship offer at Dan Barber’s revolutionary restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns. This is where I gained an even deeper respect for sustainable farming and the quality products it creates. This restaurant has been able to produce some of the most refined and innovative (let alone delicious) dishes I have ever tasted in my life for a cliental with a wide range of food restrictions. Subsequently, I took a job at The Cannibal under executive chef, Preston Clark (formally of Jean Georges). Afterwards, I spent time at George Mendes’ Michelin starred modern Portuguese restaurant, Aldea. During culinary school until the present, I have worked with the James Beard Foundation at their House events as well as their special Gala Events including the VIP gala at the James Beard Awards, Chefs and Champagne, Women in White and Sunday Supper at Chelsea Market. These experiences have allowed me to work closely with the best chefs in the world and to see a plethora of cutting edge techniques. Some of the chefs I’ve had the honor of working with at these events are Jamie Bissonnette, Anita Lo, April Bloomfield, Edward Lee and Kristen Kish.
In the spring of 2014 I was hired by Brant Lake Camp to build their large-scale safe food program. I am currently the executive special diets chef for their 7-week summer camp for boys and girls’ dance camp and sports academy.
Throughout the past decade I have traveled to the Middle East and across Europe in search of great cuisine and new techniques. I have also traveled to the West Indies, Central and South America as well as Australia and gained an extensive knowledge of many cultures and their diverse cooking techniques, ingredients and spices. I seize any opportunity I am given to learn something new about food. It is a deep belief of mine that food can bring people both joy and health. I use clean, local, whole ingredients to create great tasting meals. My clients receive safe food they love to eat. I continue to build my career around using my culinary background to support others who are just starting their own new dietary adventure.