Chef at The Chopping Block since: 2019
Favorite class to teach: Mexican cuisine
Training/education: University of Illinois- Dietetics, Kendall College- Culinary
Cooking since: Professionally since 2009
Favorite childhood food experience: Growing up in a farming family, we always had gardens with fresh vegetables and fruits. I never knew how amazing it was to have access to that and definitely took it for granted.
What made you want to become a chef?I had a childhood friend who put the idea in my head and the more I realized I liked to cook, the more I wanted that as a career.
What is your signature dish? Don’t really have one. I like to try all types of cuisines and expand my knowledge as often as possible.
What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Salt, butter, fish sauce, tomatoes, and garlic
What do you love about cooking? The process, time and care put into each dish and being able to enjoy sharing that food.
When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? I often challenge myself to create dishes that are vegetarian or vegan. It’s sometimes harder, but enjoyable when you can create something that tastes just as good.
What advice would you give a new cook? Ask questions, and come prepared. Share with your chef what you are excited about or want to learn.
What are you doing when you're not cooking? Reading books, gardening, hanging with my cat.
Describe your perfect evening. Grilling outside with family or friends
If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? Avec- it will always be the best restaurant in Chicago to me.
Where are you from? Yorkville, IL
What was your favorite vacation? I’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel a lot. Cuba was crazy interesting, will always want to travel and visit France, but I loved my most recent travels to Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea.
What are your hobbies? Gardening and reading
What is your favorite band? Fleetwood Mac
What is your favorite sports team? Packers and Cubs!
If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Julia Child
What are your guilty pleasures? Fried foods and wine
Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Suzanne Goin. She is an amazing chef and held her own in a time where women chefs were very scarce.
What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen? Peeler, sharp knife, Microplane, cake tester, Kunz spoon
What resources would you suggest for Chopping Block clients? Let recipes from cookbooks or online inspire you, but don’t follow them exactly. Add your own touch.
List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen.
1. Peel ginger with a spoon.
2. Any sauce missing an umami element? Add a dash of fish sauce.
3. Write a prep list for yourself and organize how you want to complete your tasks more efficiently.