Who are you?
I’m a former line cook trying to find my own culinary voice. I’m also a private culinary teacher. Check it out here. I am  first and foremost a food geek. I love to learn what I can about all aspects of food- the origin of food traditions, the farming and production of food, and most importantly, the consumption of food. In every aspect of my culinary career, I have worked at learning different parts of the food industry. I started by working in a dive bar, frying chicken and barbequing ribs. After getting a culinary degree, I have since moved onto among other places a test kitchen where I worked on things like creating a new kind of salad dressing and most recently, working in a high-end restaurant creating beautifully rendered dishes with ingredients direct from small, local farmers.

Why “Food Geek”?
I’ve been called a geek or nerd most of my life, usually in a joking way in grade school, but in Culinary School, my classmates were amazed at my encyclopedic knowledge of all food-related things and I have actually embraced that name ‘geek’. I love to learn about a lot of different things, especially related to food and like all enthusiasts, I am always hungry for more information and more ways to educate myself.

Where have you worked?
I have worked at Whole Foods, the Executive Dining Room at LucasArts(I served pasta to the guy who played Chewbacca!), Center for Culinary Development, Boulette’s Larder, Mission Language Vocational School and Taste Catering, not necessarily in that order. I chose each place based on a set of skills I wanted to acquire and I’m fortunate that I was able to learn a lot.

What do you like to eat?
How much time have you got? It’s better to ask me what I DON’T like to eat. I like trying new things, so far, I’ve got an appreciation for everything.

What would you eat on your death bed?
Kent Mangoes, 65% Dark Chocolate, Cheetos, a Cheeseburger and a Gin and Tonic to wash it down.

What are your favorite flavors/textures?
sour, salty, crunchy and chewy

What do you like to cook?
I cook whatever I feel like eating at the moment. It helps that I keep our pantry well-stocked.

What’s your philosophy?
I try to buy food that is seasonal, local, fair-trade, sustainable and organic. There are certain foods that I have to insist be Organic or fair-trade or local. BUT I’m also a busy wife and mother who can’t spend several hours shopping for food, so I am realistic and have learned to be resourceful. I can find beautiful products to cook with from Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl, but also in a Safeway or Lucky grocery store, even Target’s food department. There is good, whole food everywhere, but as with everything, you have to remember to use your judgement and make the choice that’s right for you. I don’t believe in being elitist about food, especially given how many people in the world DON’T have a choice in the foods they buy and consume. There is always the memory in my mind of my first trip to an American grocery store when I first came to the U.S.. I was and still am astounded at the veritable bounty of food we have in this country. And I make sure I never take that for granted.

What’s the goal of your website?
Share my experiences as a food ‘enthusiast’ and teacher. Food people, places and things with cooking techniques and occasionally a recipe.

Schmaltzy thing to say:
I believe EVERYONE can and should cook. As Lidia Bastianich said- cooking is part of being human.


Jun Belen

Posted April 08, 2011

Looking great, Samantha!


Posted January 29, 2014

I’m happy and jealous :-) I wish we lived closer so I can hang out with you and you can teach me to cook – I still remember when you made lumpias at our apartment. Hugs, Sam!


    Posted February 04, 2014

    how nice to see your name on the comment list! thank you for visiting. I also wish we lived closer to one another- I would love some lessons in cake decorating. I remember this carrot cake you made for us once. It was incredible!

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