My background, and reason for being a Just BARE™ Chicken enthusiast, follows a path I didn’t even know I was on for a long time. I grew up on the West Coast in a family obsessed with food and cooking. I learned to make bread with my mother—an amazing sourdough baker and keeper of the ancient family sourdough starter—and an early specialty were my Babas au Rhum cakes I baked for my French class dinners. I always expected to eat whatever was fresh and seasonal. We ate Dungeness crab, fresh artichokes, rich avocadoes, grapefruit from the trees in our yard, scads of corn from local truck farms, and grilled farm-raised meats year ‘round.
I cooked to help pay for college, catering small parties for my parent’s friends and working in the garde manger, or cold kitchen, of a local country club. I found myself deep into a chemistry major in school, despairing that I was no longer keen about working in a lab for the rest of my life, yet not sure what I really wanted to do. Then my wily mother set me on the course that I’m on today. I happily took a 180˚ turn into the School of Agriculture with renewed energy and an emphasis on nutrition and consumer service in food. The combo of that degree, plus taking time off from my first job to wing my way to Paris for my culinary diploma, are the underpinnings of my continuing love of good cooking and real food.
I actually consider myself an accomplished home cook rather than a chef, since I couldn’t run a restaurant to save my life. I think I have a better understanding of what home cooks want to learn about making simple, great tasting meals for their families. Products like Just BARE™ are like a gift because I have complete confidence in its wholesomeness, and I might have a slim chance of pleasing everybody at my own dinner table—a family of three hungry boys. And finding supper ideas on some nights feels like a real chore, despite the hundreds of cooking magazines stacked up in my office. Luckily, with more farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs and community gardens in bloom, it’s easier and easier to eat fresh, bountiful whole foods that are safe and grown closer to home.
My cooking philosophy is pretty low-tech—I love finding new recipes and flavor combinations, but I also believe in improvisation. I jot notes in my cookbooks, tweak recipes to meet what I have in my fridge, or challenge myself to make dinner from only what I have on hand. Tonight I need to pull an extra package of Just BARE™ chicken thighs out to thaw! So I’m looking forward to sharing my own cooking and gardening odysseys with you.