1) Where does your passion for food come from?
I eat good food every chance I get! There is always another way to discover how the freshest or simplest of ingredients can be mixed to create pure harmony! Inspiration surrounds us all. My job as a chef and Master Chocolatier is to capture that joy and my favorite medium to do that is with chocolate of course. Come taste chocolate that is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat! You will defiantly look at chocolate with a whole new appreciation for just how good it can be.
2) Tell us about your culinary journey.
My childhood was filled with everyday blandness, except a few rare times when my dad made a tasty dessert. Food that I was raised on was not bad, it just had little to no taste or flavor simply because my parents use mostly boxed meals and did not know how to use any seasonings/cook in general. My culinary journey began as an adult when I decided to fill my belly with better. I was determined to learn how to cook tasty food so I signed up for the Art Institute of Seattle. I got a bit sideways and signed up for the Baking & Pastry side first. It was there that I made my first ganache (the center of a truffle) and I was hooked. It was pure magic! The taste and technique and scent all captivated me on such an extreme level that I knew that I had found my calling. I graduated from the year long program in 2006 and threw everything I had into refining and crafting my skills. In 2013, I had become the highest awarded Chocolatier in the US, and I now compete and win international competitions throughout the world. What’s more is that I am connected to an inspiring world of chocolate and people who are as passionate about it as I am. Chocolate and seeking out good food have opened up my world in a positive and profound way. Every day is made better through the simple choice to fill my belly and soul with better!
3) Where is your favorite place to eat?
Next to a stranger who is enjoying their plate of food so much that you can see the joy permeate through them. Sometimes it is enough to simply watch the joy. Other times I am moved to ask them about what they are having. The best conversations (and usually a tasty inspiration) come from these times.
4) Where do you source your ingredients?
I strive to get the freshest and best handled ingredients possible. In my case this can mean heading down the street to a local farm or from searching the world for a particular way a cacao bean is grown, fermented, and roasted. Basically, taste everything, and buy responsibly at a good price from experts in their fields that helps the whole chain stay stable and grow.
5) Tell us about a new product you are working on.
Our newest projects both involve collaboration. We are in love with our new Cranberry Pecan Bark made with combining elements of some of our past products and making something with a fresh new twist. The other big project is building on the wild success of our Lemon Pepper Ice Cream done in collaboration with Portland based Salt & Straw Ice Cream. We are in the experimental phase of it right now, but it will be a showstopper that will make a big splash in February!