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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 1865. 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 in 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, Daisy Martinez and Lydia Bastianich, online videos from America’s Test Kitchen and various YouTube home cooks, and from constantly reading Cooks Illustrated magazine.