(Cozinha FRANCESA)

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Chef/consultant and lover of all things FOOD! I started out life wanting to be a musician. I studied both flute and classical recorder from the time I was 8 years old. Learning to read music help to discipline my mind. Later, when my family moved to Beaufort, SC, I studied voice with Dwight Dunbar through High School. I majored in Vocal performance at Columbia College with Lanny Palmer in Columbia, SC. When the racial craziness got to be just a little too much, I left music behind for a career in the fashion industry, where I went on to do almost every job from sales to production assistant to stylist Michelle Cole. Feeling that I really needed to change my life after loosing my grandparents, I went to work for a friend in his vegetarian restaurant in Santa Monica, CA and was hooked! I decided to take advantage of a chance to get a Cal Grant and go to Cal State Long Beach. There I met Chef Romane Britane who really inspired me to learn all I could and become a REAL chef. I left Long Beach during the LA riots and did not finish school, I was 2 weeks from graduation. I was determined to learn everything I could. I came back to Columbia, SC and got a position of Executive Chef at Goatfeather's. It was a wonderful opportunity, but I quickly learned that I did not know enough, nor had the discipline I needed to lead a kitchen! This was a rude awakening that I needed more training to be a real rude awakening and started me on a path to true learning! So I quit, and went to North Carolina, where I took a position as a dish/prep person and worked my but off working and learning from chefs that were very generous with me and taught me. I worked three jobs and just worked hard learning and growing. I moved to Ashville, NC and trained under Chefs Vijay and Cathrine Shastri at the windmill European Grill, where I worked with East Indian, Northern Italian and German cuisines! From there, I went on to train at the Movable Feast to work in classical French Cuisine. Here I truly learned the meaning of working with the skills I had been learning and to work in an intense atmosphere. I moved to New York City in 1995 and slit my training between fine dinning and diners so I would have both skill and speed. I work at the Lucky Dog Cafe as the egg cook and at Le Pescadou as the day chef. I spent the summers in the Southampton working for several restaurants. I left New York and moved to Baltimore where i was Executive Chef of Margret's Cafe. When my family wanted me to move closer, I moved to Atlanta, GA where I worked for esteemed Chef Alix Kenagy at first The Fox and Hound and then Indigo.I was then hired by Chef Kelly Courtney to head Percy's Fish House. When my mother became ill, I moved back to SC and decided to go back to school and finish my culinary arts degree, and went to Johnson and Wales University. I graduated in 2004.

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