I started cooking professionally about 19 years ago. Like many in the industry, I paid my dues in the dish pit and pantry station, worked for a while as a prep cook, until finally I got upgraded to line cook status. I loved working sauté the most, and that’s where my passion for cooking really started. My first chef was very demanding and very disciplined, but his creativity was the catalyst for my inspiration.
Shortly after I started cooking professionally, I also became a vegetarian. This created a big challenge for me, because I am a picky eater in general. I had to learn to like alternative ingredients such as tofu, tempeh, seitan…as well as many vegetables and grains I hadn’t considered before. It was an adjustment, but the challenge to make these foods taste so good that you don’t miss the meat, was one that has kept my creative juices flowing over the years.
As much as I have been able to, I have combined my vegetarianism with my cooking career. After working in restaurants for many years, I decided to go back to school. I started taking culinary classes, but at the same time wanted to learn something that I couldn’t learn in a professional kitchen, but would still apply. So my direction shifted for a bit, and I got a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition. With that under my belt, I started working in the natural foods industry, using my cooking skills and combining my nutrition background to further my career.
Most recently, I was the Prepared Foods Team Leader at Whole Foods in Indianapolis, from 2004 to 2010. Traveling is also a major part of my life, so I left Whole Foods to have the freedom to travel more, which led me to Seward, Alaska for the summer of 2010. I went back to my roots as a line cook, and had an awesome summer cooking with some of the best folks ever at Seward Windsong Lodge. The summer of 2011, I was the Chef for The Island Inn on Monhegan Island, Maine, which proved to be another exciting adventure. Now we come to the summer of 2012, and Nacho Mama’s Food Truck is my current venture.
It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to own a restaurant of some sort, and then the last few years I have been dreaming of a food truck. With this venture I get to combine my love of being on the road with my dream of owning a restaurant on wheels. So don’t be afraid to dream big, because anything and everything is possible….hence, Nacho Mama’s!
Much love and many smiles,