• Leah Stuckey
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Chef Leah Stuckey

Chef at The Chopping Block since: 2016

Favorite class to teach: I love the pastry classes! I'm also a big fan of grilling classes.

Training/education: Studied at Le Cordon Bleu in London.

Cooking since: 2001

Favorite childhood food experience: Big family dinners and Butchering Day.

What made you want to become a chef? I loved making people happy and cooking was something that came a little natural to me. I love the creative aspect of it.

What is your signature dish? It changes with each chapter of my life. Right now, I make a lot of chocolate cakes.

What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Butter, sugar, flour, eggs, salt.

What do you love about cooking? How creative I can be and always facing fun challenges in the kitchen.

When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? Usually it's cultural, my environment and how the same ingredients can taste completely different in another part of the world.

What advice would you give a new cook? Don't give up. Make a ton of mistakes, but make them only once.

What are you doing when you're not cooking? Most likely studying, going out with friends, and trying to get to the beach as much as possible!

Describe your perfect evening. Amazing food and drinks, music and my friends and family. Hopefully a white sandy beach under my feet.

If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? Depends on what they're into! My go-to place closed 2 years ago: Thai Classic in Wrigleyville. They had the best Green Curry I've every had, and I haven’t been able to find any as good yet!

Where are you from? I was born in Iowa, and grew up in Michigan. From time to time, my second home is Cambridge, Ontario.

What was your favorite vacation? That's a tough question! Barbados with my family as a kid and traveling with my family in France.

What are your hobbies? I love to be creative. I got my undergraduate degree in Art before Culinary School, so you’ll see me drawing and painting a lot. I love to try new restaurants. Is watching bad movies a hobby?

What is your favorite band? That's too tough to answer. I have three iPods full of music.

What is your favorite sports team? Blackhawks!

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? My mom.

What are your guilty pleasures? Bad TV and McDonald's.

Who is your favorite celebrity chef? I really like Michael Simon.

What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen?

  • Cast iron pan
  • Good Chef's Knife
  • Quality cutting board
  • Set of mixing bowls
  • Whisk/spatula

What resources would you suggest for Chopping Block students? There are some great blogs out there! Also I'm old school; I still love all my paperback recipe books. Cooks Illustrated is actually a great read for troubleshooting almost any base recipe.

List your favorite tips you use in the kitchen: Set yourself up to be successful, look through the whole recipe and prepare what you can beforehand so that you're not scrambling or trying to juggle different parts of a recipe or meal, later on.

Leah's Favorite Beverages

LSwine.jpgMy favorite items we carry at The Chopping Block happen to both be beverages. I love our Intelligentia coffee (did you know we have our own special blend?) and our food-friendly wines. Our wines are hand-selected for their quality and ability to pair well with food. We have something for every wine lover!