Robert Reynolds is an educator and chef who learned his craft in France and in San Francisco. When he told his mentor, Josephine Arlado, about studying in France with Madeleine Kamman, she answered, “Because you are going to be with the best, I will treat you differently.” Their teachings framed the mission of the Chef Studio. Cooks of all stripes gather around the stove and table for two months. Like a mentor, Robert in turn help shapes their development and ambition, one on one.
Our training of cooks involves passing on a cultural heritage, supported by skills and information grounded in tradition, memory and stories. These are supplemented by experience and ideas passed on in the same manner that Reynolds received his training from his teachers and mentors.
The appeal of the training at the Chef Studio is that it advances individual skills and understanding directly in ways that institutions with large numbers of students competing for attention cannot do.
Training others is a serious matter in the same way that running a business is serious. Once a student leaves they expect that the skills they’ve learned will help them stand out from the competition. Robert trains cooks to develop their own signature and to leave feeling more sure of themselves and of the skills they possess. Learning to be good at something shapes your manner and composure. Robert’s goal then is to offer a solid foundation of information (method, technique, physics, chemistry, culture, history) that allows cooks to apply their intelligence to their life as well as to their business.
Finally, Robert believes the art of well-being marries well with the subject of feeding people. They constitute the arts of the table, and this is the domain of education at the Chef Studio.
From the time she could walk, she was going to the bountiful farmer’s market’s in Southern California. “Farm to table” has had a great impact on Kristen’s sensitivity to seasonality, fresh flavors and playful textures. Her great aunt and grandmother were amazing role model’s in the kitchen. Local farms and artisan’s have always been held close to her heart. As a self-taught pastry chef, her fortunate and well-calculated culinary career has led her through some of the best kitchens in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, and France. After working under the tutelage of notable chefs like Claudia Fleming, Marcus Samuelsson, Christine Ferber and Barbara Lynch, she has learned to hone her skills and focus on her distinct style.
Murray relocated to Portland in 2008 to open Lucier restaurant and since it’s closure has worked at notable restaurants in town, such as Paley’s and Fenouil. As well as consulting with Ten-01, Little T American Baker and Cryil’s. Kristen has been teaching and heading the pastry program at The Chef Studio since 2009. She is currently working on her opening her own business and pastry shop.
At age 14, Blake Van Roekel wrote her first cookbook. Though it never quite reached the public eye, her passion for food and feeding people stayed true. Subsequent journals that traversed careers in horticulture, arts & event management, and jewelry design always had recipes scribbled in the margins.
In 2007, Blake’s recipes moved from the margins to the center of the page. She graduated from an intensive course in “Culinary Heaven” with chef Robert Reynolds, whereupon she launched her company, Keuken, in order to officially cook up a storm. She co-founded the successful and popular Art+Palate Supper Club, 3×2 with dindin and Duff Dinners. Many of her menus are inspired by art and design, literature and music, and environment and community resulting in meals that are thematic and unique to the time and place of the event. Her goal is to introduce greater levels of meaning to the food on our plates by not only stimulating our taste buds, but our emotions and intellect as well.
When Blake is not in the kitchen, or taking a break to eat chocolate, she can be found digging in the dirt. She serves on the advisory council of Portland Multnomah Food Policy Council, is a culinary instructor at Robert Reynolds Chef Studio and the Art Institute, and holds a Certificate in Sustainable Business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute with a Concentration on Food & Agriculture. She also is the consulting chef for Gales Meadow Farm, developing recipes while helping the vegetables grow. She is committed to the earth, her food, and the people she feeds.
Blake believes we should save the earth because it is our only source of chocolate :)
Andrea Slonecker tried out pretty much every occupation that has to do with eating and drinking—including restaurant management, event planning, and cooking in restaurants and catering operations—before finally settling on a combination of food writing and teaching. She is a graduate of The Oregon Culinary Institute, and also holds a degree in restaurant business from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since 2008, Andrea has focused her career on recipe development for cookbooks and magazines. She has contributed research, recipes, and writing to several books on food and wine, and her first solo cookbook, Artisan Pretzels at Home, will be published by Chronicle Books in April 2013. In addition to writing, Andrea has taught culinary classes at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Portland and is excited to now be teaching at the Chef Studio. She is actively involved in our local food community as the executive director of the Portland Culinary Alliance, a networking and educational organization for food and beverage professionals. Andrea is passionate about building community through food, and she relishes the opportunity to inspire others in their culinary pursuits.
A former Chef Studio student, Courtney began teaching at The Chef Studio in 2009. Courtney currently directs the French program with fellow instructor Blake Van Roekel, leading students twice annually to the Bordeaux region for a week of cooking classes and tours of the local food culture.
Courtney is the owner of din din Supper Club, a dinner party open to the public. din din’s highly curated occasions are a spirited exercise in the Chef Studio’s lessons of gathering at the table and the art of a harmonious and balanced menu. din din also caters private events, and has provided food and planning services for events from ten to 1,000 guests at venues from farms to concert halls.
Through din din, Courtney has also developed relationships with local farms, wineries, and purveyors, and connects students to the best of our region’s offerings as they experience daily during the France session.
Courtney has also cooked at BEAST, served as Brunch Chef at Matchbox Lounge, and worked as Event Assistant to Chef Vitaly Paley of Paley’s Place. She recently served for three years on the Board of the Hollywood Farmers Market.
Courtney looks forward to meeting you à Bordeaux!
Kaaren Bedi conducts the classes, fills them with endless stories, info about methods, techniques, and the magic of Indian food, the spices, the old wives tales that fill the imagination and appetite.
When Kaaren Bedi reflects on her experiences in India, she realized that all of the cooking of the Subcontinent is done on 2-burner cook tops. She will share what she knows about preparing foods with no fancy equipment, and mostly done by hand. Along the way, you will get an understanding of seasoning, how they happen, and how they bring the dish together in the most beautiful way.
She cooks, you cook, everyone eats, talks, and goes away inspired. She prepares Indian home cooking, not restaurant food, so it is likely that you will find yourself in front of a plate of familiar ingredients with flavors you’ve never imagined. It is not to be missed.
I never thought much of Indian food. It was always goopy brown stuff or goopy yellow stuff or greasy red stuff and that chewy bread. But that all changed one night in Miami.
There I was tired and hungry, stalled in front of an Indian restaurant reading the menu posted in the window. A face appeared out the door and said, “You know, you could come in, sit down and read the menu.” I did – and the food was amazing. It was fresh, vibrant and complex. I was enchanted. After begging for a few months, the owner agreed to let me come and learn how to cook. I spent time in the restaurant kitchen, but more importantly Adish would invite me home where he would cook. The food was simple to prepare and like nothing on the menu of his, or any other restaurant. That was the real revelation.
Then I went to India. I was privileged to be with family and be exposed to the huge variety of cultures and styles of food the subcontinent has to offer. I lived in and traveled around the vast and complex nation. It gave me context and detail.
Now after 7 years of study I feel like I’m just beginning to crack the code the code that is the cuisine of the subcontinent.
There are 1.2 billion people on the Indian subcontinent- each one has a recipe. These are my recipes.