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As a home chef in Astoria, New York I traced my ancestry and discovered that I descend from a handful of cooks on both sides of my family dating as far back as 1831. Just a coincidence? I think not.
My desire for food started with lots of holiday baking as a child in Richmond, Rhode Island. I naturally gravitated to food jobs during college in Minneapolis, finding work as a dining hall prep cook, a cheesemonger in a gourmet deli, and a coffeeshop barista. My friends endured 9 years of my tedious trial-and-error gourmet meals.
Upon arriving in Astoria in 2004, I parted ways with the concept of gourmet food and became more interested in “American” comfort food. I also wondered how to cook with the wide variety of international ingredients that were new to me and so easily available in my local markets. More tedious trial-and-error kitchen adventures took place as I learned from a wide variety of sources including TV chefs such as Daisy Martinez and Lydia Bastianich, online videos from America’s Test Kitchen and various YouTube home cooks, and from constantly reading Cooks Illustrated magazine.