I tell people I started work in the hospitality industry in 1984 (and that’s a fact), but the reality is I started my culinary journey some time around 1969… in my great grandmother’s kitchen. My childhood was spent surrounded by some of the most amazing home cooks and bakers making delicious food that fed the body and soul. The fact that I formalized my culinary training years later at the Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago never truly eclipsed the home training I’d had. I spent several years as a Chef Instructor at the Le Cordon Bleu and Robert Morris University, both in Chicago. To be a great instructor, one must be “spot on” with every demo and every lecture. I still practice even the most basic kitchen skills on a daily basis.
My life in and around food has instilled in me a desire to learn about the history of what we eat, the cultural influences on our menus and food traditions. So now I cook… professionally as the Executive Chef at the Black Marlin Bar and Grill in Port Aransas, TX and for the sheer enjoyment of doing so, I’m also a co-owner (with Vita Jarrin) of A La Mode Gelateria on North Padre Island.
I started competing in food sport back in 2013 at the World Food Championship’s second year of operation. Wholly under-prepared for what I would experience, I jumped into the sandwich category with entries I still love, but would do quite differently. Since then I have made it into the Top 10 in the recipe category but have still to win my category and advance to the elusive final table.
Now, when I compete, I bring the best of what I’ve learned about Texas Gulf Coast food and the heart-warming traditions of comfort food.