Chef Jenni grew up in a small town in Northern California, where her family grew a large garden, raised their own meat, and grew a vast majority of their food themselves to include their own milk and cheese. She understood local, organic, and sustainable at an early age.
Shortly after graduating high school, Jenni started a career as a Wildland Fire Fighter. It was during this period that she traveled often in the off-season. This is where she experienced cuisine from nearly every nook and cranny of the U.S.
After five years of fighting fire, she realized that some of her fondest moments were cooking amazing food for her fellow fire men and women when it was her turn to cook. It was this realization that led her to choose a life in the Culinary Arts.
She then attended Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. During culinary school, her skills and palate stood out enough that she was immediately offered a position at the famous Emeril Legasse’s in New Orleans. While at Emeril’s, she learned the fine arts of Seafood, Southern, Creole, and Fine Dining Cuisine.
Once she had spent several years at Emeril’s, Jenni chose to make a transition and chose to accept a position with the Hyatt Regency in the Cayman Islands. Here she learned even more about seafood and the diverse Carribean cuisine, while working in a larger scale fine dining setting.
After some time there, Jenni returned stateside and back California where she accepted a position at The Farallon in San Francisco. Over the next few years, Jenni worked under several other award winning chefs and critically acclaimed establishments during her stay in San Francisco.
After a brief vacation to Yosemite National Park, she returned unexpectedly with a new job. She then moved to Yosemite to be the Garde Manger at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. She stayed for several years in the Yosemite Valley. Here, she worked in everything from fine dining at the Ahwahnee Hotel and Evergreen Lodge, to working deep in the Yosemite High Country receiving all of her food and supplies by a pack of mules that carried it to camp via mule train.
After Yosemite, she moved to Southern California to be closer to family where she managed alarge catering company in Santa Barbara that specialized in grand wedding ceremonies.
She then again moved north to the North Bay Area, working for the Culinary Institute of America Special Events Department, as a Private Chef, a Consultant, and as a class instructor.
Jenni then decided to expand her culinary resume into specialized cuisine to include Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, and Low Glycemic Cooking. She located to Sebastopol, California and accepted a position as the Executive Chef for a Chocolate Shop that was looking to create a healthy food program to add to their company. It was here in Sonoma County that Jenni really began to return to her roots of using local, sustainable, and organic ingredients to create the amazing, wholesome comfort food that was raised on.
Over her travels, Jenni has gathered an extensive and diverse culinary experience that she loves to share and expand on! She truly enjoys teaching and sharing her love and passion for food with others. In addition to being our Catering and Special Events Executive Chef, she shares her love of food with others by teaching farm-to-table cooking classes to the public with her own company, Cooking with Chef Jenni. Find out more about Jenni at www.chef-jenni.com