June 2019 Chef of the Month- Stephanie Hamilton

We are so ready for the month of June (can someone say summer?) and with it, we are happy to introduce our June Chef of the Month- Stephanie Hamilton! Chef Stephanie is a creative chef in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not running her own catering company, she is putting on events and constantly looking for different ways to create delicious new recipes. Read below to learn more about Chef Stephanie’s story!

 

1. Where were you born?

The Great Pacific Northwest is my home. I was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. The Pacific Northwest has so much to offer-fresh seafood with local farmers all just right in my backyard and really an amazing place to live.

2. Where do you work and where are you based? 

I am super active in many aspects of the culinary industry, I also have my own catering company ” The Creative Menu”. I pretty much will take on any event that comes my way, since it’s just me. At times, I get those large events that will challenge me, but at the end of the day it is so rewarding. I also love to put on “Pop Up” events, taking smaller groups of guests and creating a fine dining experience in the comfort of a home or small venue. It’s such a fun and creative way to challenge myself by taking a menu and being able to transport the guest somewhere new and exciting with the story you have behind each dish as you go through the night.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?

It’s really hard to pick a favorite kitchen tool, of course I love my Chef’s Knife. Thinking of something even more simple is the actual dish you plate on. The color, shape of the plate or board can change the whole dynamic of a dish. I want a dish that would be brought to life and contribute to the story.

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?

My sharpest sense would be my sight, I am able to visualize and create a dish and keep great attention to detail, while not over complicating a dish, keeping it simple and letting ingredients shine. To me food should be vibrant, balanced and just simply put, make you happy.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Have a mentor that you respect and look up to and learn as much as you can from that Chef. Being able to work side-by-side with a Chef and having a hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Never stop learning and always challenge yourself and finally, do not be afraid to fail, that is the only way to truly learn and grow to be better.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?

What was taught to me was to never waste anything! Learn your ingredients and know how to utilize every component.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me is simplicity and elegance, not over complicating a dish where flavors get lost.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit? 

When selecting an outfit, I look for material that is comfortable, washes well and holds its color. I like being able to customize my coat.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Favorite ingredients would have to be “Beef & Spices from Spiceology” (tenderloin, trip-tip, brisket, short ribs, etc.) Cooking up a beautiful filet seasoned perfectly with the balanced flavors of Spiceology will hands raise your dish to that next level.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Seattle, Washington is such a great city to dine in. Big variety of cultures with some of the best little mom and pop places to eat. The best part is being down by the waterfront and taking a stroll through Pike Place Market.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

One that is my favorite to make and turns out perfect every time is the Tri – tip coated in a dry rub from Spiceology. It’s cooked on the smoker at 225 degrees for about 90 mins then kick the grill up to high and reverse sear. Top it off with a fresh Chimichurri sauce and serve it up with your favorite side.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? 

I love to eat Tacos! Steak, Shrimp, Brisket.  If you’re making it, I’m eating it. Plus, put a fresh bowl of salsa and chips down, and I’m one happy camper.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I would be honored to cook for Chef Thomas Keller.  He is so talented and the chance to cook for and listen to his feedback would be incredible. Being able to learn about his experiences in the kitchen and how he got to where he is would be a great learning experience for me.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I did not realize in the beginning, but my journey started when I was just a kid. I am very grateful of how it began. I grew up on a little farm, between our farm and my grandparent’s farm we had about 15 acres. We raised our own meat, poultry, beef, lamb, rabbit and had a very large vegetable garden. I was taught the importance of working hard for what you have and never wasting anything.

Growing up I always loved to cook but not sure I really thought I was going to have such a passion for cooking, but then, it really kind of hit me all at once, (That fire & passion that burns inside of you) I took that desire to learn and started teaching myself everything I possibly could learn. Cooking for others makes me so happy, seeing the joy your guest has sitting around a table enjoying their meal and making new memories with their family… that right there is the best thing in the world!

Connect with our June Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @chef_stephanie_

 

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