New kid in the kitchen

Hi, I’m Chef Jenn, the instructor for The Thoughtful Kitchens cooking classes.  This is my first time writing for a blog, and I’m a little nervous.  This will be a regular thing, so check back often to see what is happening in the kitchen.

A little about me.

The food industry has provided me my crazy wonderful background and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  My very first restaurant job (little did I know this was going to be my future) was scooping ice cream at our local shop in town, where my aunt scooped ice cream (it was a small town and we are a big Irish family)!

Fast forward a lot of years, and a culinary degree later.  I’ve had some incredible opportunities working with some of the most prestigious chefs/restaurants in the country. 

Right out of school, I was a cook at The Butcher Shop in Boston, MA, with Chef Barbara Lynch, who single handedly built a restaurant empire (8 restaurants and counting), growing up in the ghettos of Charlestown, MA and never having graduated from high school. 

Next up, Al Forno Restaurant in Providence, RI, where grilled pizza was invented (check it; even Wikipedia agrees!).  It is a simple and rustic Italian restaurant that has become a haven for celebrities like Richard Gere, Cindy Crawford and Michelle Obama (secret service included). 

My husband’s career offered us the opportunity to move around and experience different parts of the country.  Detroit, MI was next on the list.  I had the opportunity to teach some of Detroit’s inner city at-risk kids how to cook.  I will be forever grateful to those kids for such a humbling experience and keeping me grounded. 

Then the call came.  We were moving to California.  When my husband told me we were moving, he thought I would jump into his arms and scream for joy….well, that didn’t quite happen.  I cried like a baby!  had fallen in love with “my kids” and the mid-west culture.  Onward and forward, as our adventures continue, California here I come. 

Moving that far was hard and was a total culture shock.  Remember how the movie The Wizard of Oz starts out black and white, then mid movie it turns color…..yup, that was Detroit to Santa Monica for me.  As my first California experience, I had the opportunity to work for a celebrity dad as a private chef.  It was a great experience, but wasn’t for me.  Enter, the FarmShop, Santa Monica, housing a vast alumni from Thomas Keller/French Laundry – I got my dream job and where I satisfied my creative side working in their pastry department. 

California was not an easy place for me at first, but we have been here 7 years, live in Orange County, and I couldn’t think of being anywhere else.  Moving here has provided me opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise happened, and friends I never would have met.  The adventure continues.

I truly enjoy helping people.  I love nothing more than to see someone create a dish they once thought was not possible.  Stay tuned for upcoming information on our cooking classes, menus and schedules and other life happenings.

Shoot me an email at:  chefjennoc@gmail.com with any questions or thoughts

Thanks for stopping by…..Jenn