My name is Deborah. I have been cooking in the field for 10 years now. I come from a family with lots of women and my grandma was the one who allowed me to spend the most time with her in the kitchen. As I got older, I had the opportunity to nanny for a Greek family, where the wife showed me various traditional dishes and even complied a recipe book for me. Upon leaving high school, I chose to go into the Culinary program though Schoolcraft. I also did a supplementary training in Boulder, CO that was focused on using whole foods and cooking without, i.e. dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, vegan, raw, sugar-free etc. I have worked in every facet of the culinary field, from restaurants to catering and even school lunch programs. I am now in a place where I am developing and growing my own business; I have personal clients that I cater weekly meals to as well as parties. It is very exciting to watch it unfold.
When did you first become interested in cooking?
As far as I can remember, I always loved being in the kitchen. I would throw dinner parties for my friends throughout high school so I could test my skills. I have always loved the idea of good food, good people, good conversation and good drink. I love the community that comes from sitting around the table to a good meal. And I have the ability to recreate that every time I cater a party.
What ingredient do you use most?
The one staple in my kitchen is organic Chicken Stock. I make my own, over a period of about 14-16 hours. It adds such richness and depth to dishes.
What is your fondest food memory?
Last year, I was able to attend something called Outstanding in the Field. It was a beautiful experience. A group of individuals tour the country, find various farms, have a guest chef come in and prepare a meal based upon ingredients the farm provides. They, then, set up a huge 100 person table, with white linens, in the middle of the farm, and everyone sits to eat what the chef has prepared. It totally encompasses my idea of communing at the table.
How did you end up volunteering for Cooking Matters?
I am a firm believer in that what we receive in life, so must we give back. Because I have experience in the culinary field, and love to teach that which I have learned, Cooking Matters seemed prefect. And it is. J I completely love and feel blessed for the opportunity to be apart of.
Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share?
One dish I am completely loving right now is this:
1 ea. Turkey Breast
1 T. Oregano, dried
1 t. Fennel Seed
1 T. Salt, divided
½ T. Pepper divided
4 T. Olive Oil, divided
1 ea. Celery Root
2 c. Chicken Stock or Water
1 ea. Fennel bulb
Method: Heat oven to 425
Season Turkey Breast. In large sauté pan, heat 1 T. olive oil. Sear Turkey Breast until golden brown. Finish cooking in the oven.
For celery root, peel outer layer. Cut into large chunks and place into medium saucepan. Fill with chicken stock, if using, or simply water. Once celery root is soft, remove from heat and drain liquid. Place into mixing bowl. Mash with paddle or whisk attachment, adding in 1-2 T. olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.
For the fennel, de-core, and slice in to half inch slices. Toss with 1 T. olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
On a plate, place celery root mash, then turkey breast, and top with fennel. Enjoy!!