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Occupation: Sous chef
Birthplace: Branson, Mo.
Hometown: Lynnwood, Wash.
Where to begin my story.. how about...
Branson Missouri, nestled in the Ozark mountains — a place where cultural diversity is celebrated through restaurant signs that read, "Throwed Rolls," and "Opin fer Vittles." With country music shows and theme parks being the destination for millions of Midwesterners, Branson became a place for a teenage rebel to develop some kitchen skills, free food and a paycheck — WOW — could I do this for a living? From a 13 year old washin' dishes and makin' pizzas to a high school senior serving up hash, liver and onions all the while sporting a two-tone mohawk. During these years I fell in love with the kitchen. It became a comfort zone and a home away from home.
Along came high school graduation... gotta get outta Missouri... there's gotta be more out there...
So, off to LA to find my destiny.
Los Angeles became the birthplace of my palate. I was introduced to a whole world of flavors, spices and cultures. I felt like Marco Polo from Missouri. It changed my life and slapped me upside my head. Falafels, chickpeas and hummus, curry, sushi rolls and salsa bars. What in the hell have I been missing? I must find a kitchen to call home... one problem; I only speak English, which makes you the handicapped kid in the kitchen, and skills or no skills, nobody wanted to take the chance.
Desperate, I got work at Universal Studios commissary, where I'm sure I was hired on to fill a quota. The job they gave me was mindless and my passion for making churros quickly faded... this sucks. L.A. taught me a couple things: I need to learn Spanish and I have a lot left to learn about food.
So, I left L.A. to visit Seattle one day, and never returned. While attending art school (loved to create, just can't find my medium), I found a home in a steak house kitchen. I learned so much during that time, I could hardly retain it all. I didn't want to even attend school at all. All I wanted to do was rock in the kitchen: prep, grill, pantry... I had to learn it all. The choreographed chaos — HEAVEN!
One day it struck me like a thrown fish from Pike Place Market... this is it — how could I be so blind??? I am an artist — my medium is FOOD!!! I've got to get to work!!
After topping out as a steakhouse kitchen manager, I left to pursue a job where I could create. Milestone's Grill became the place for me to create and sell whatever I wanted — culinary freedom. Free from corporate chains. After winning a company-sponsored chef competition in Puerto Vallarta, among 30 other company chefs, I decided to start looking for a higher profile job downtown Seattle — that's where I began my career at The Brooklyn Seafood Steak and Oyster Bar, in the heart of downtown Seattle, where I was hired on as a sous chef. Every day is a thrill and a challenge... cooking for guests and celebrities at the exposition counter is dream come true. What could be better than this...maybe being picked to compete to win a job in a Todd English Restaurant in NYC... that would be cool... way cool.
One things for sure: It's a charmed life. Guess you'll have to tune in to find out where it goes from here.
- Born in Kansas City Missouri, 8/9/72 (land of the best BBQ on Earth)
- Age 12, parents divorced, mother remarried a surgeon who set up his practice in Branson, Missouri
- most of my family still lives in KC, grandmother Milly Brewer, mother Ginny Wonder (divorced again), aunt, uncle, cousins. My brother Brian lives in Columbia, Missouri as an investment banker. Stepsister, Adrianne, is a student @ University of Kansas (Used to be a rock star in the band The Anniversary)
- I love all my family and try to visit when I can
- Kicked out of the house by my stepfather at age 17, don't care for him much - He's a prick J
- Met my lovely wife Kim in Seattle (She was part of a special offer that came with two wonderful step children Brittany and Kyle, boy did I get lucky!!) In 2001 our daughter Hailey Kae was born and there hasn't been a dull moment since!
- Some of the people I have cooked for (and yes I'm cheesy enough to have the autographed menus to prove it) include: Bill Cosby, Magic Johnson, Carlos Delgado, Tino Martinez, Reuben Sierra, Barry Zito & Manny Ramirez
- Other interest includes MLB games — I'm always down with taking in a game as long as we sit by the garlic fries!
I could go on and on but maybe it would be more fun to talk about it on a television show.. think about it. I have!