Although formally trained, Jeff is a chef by passion rather than profession. Technique, skill, and creativity all exist, but he will be the first to tell you that his temperament wouldn’t suit the restaurant industry. Lucky for us, and an ever-growing group of friends that are quick to scale mountains in exchange for a seat at Jeff’s table, we eat very well when he is around. I met Jeff in 1999 when we both worked for the same company. It was his turn to “entertain” the corporate visitor and he decided that instead of going out we should just pick something up for a simple meal in his West Seattle kitchen. Three hours after returning home with groceries we ate dinner. I felt like I was on a cooking show as he taught me how to make a paste of garlic and kosher salt by dragging a large chefs knife over the ingredients, macerate dates in Armagnac to later stuff with a marcona almond for dessert, and the list goes on. I was used to eating dinner in the hotel restaurant alone when I traveled so this was quite a treat and the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Since that fateful trip, Jeff has cooked for us in Seattle, San Francisco (a hundred times), Memphis, Boston, Manhattan, the Loire Valley (for 10 days straight!), the New Hampshire lake house, and most recently (in the most challenging kitchen ever) Chef-Boutonne. I have had the honor of playing sous-chef while he prepared dinner parties for the owners of our company as well as for dinners for my nearest and dearest. I can say with conviction that cooking with Jeff is one of my top 5 favorite things to do.
He is very generous with his talents and to that end was nice enough to join us for our first Christmas in our new house. He was only in town for 4 days, but we ate left overs for a week after he went home. He arrived around 9:00pm Sunday night and started grinding meat for the country pate.