ICE’s Chef Instructors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have a wealth of experience. Everyday, they share this experience and knowledge with students in ICE’s career training programs. Recently, Chef Instructor Greer Nuttall joined the staff teaching in the Culinary Arts program. She spent many years refining her culinary skill repertoire at Alice Waters’ famed Chez Panisse and other locations in Northern California and New York. We asked her about how she got into food and how her passion developed. Here, in her own words, is what she shared with us:
I am from the South, Georgia and North Carolina, and I learned to enjoy food and its preparation from childhood. My father tended a kitchen garden and I remember early on eating peppers straight from the plant and begging my grandmother to make banana bread with me. When I was in my teens, I ate a seminal meal at Lutèce that was so well crafted and delicious that it inspired me to pursue a career as a chef. I still want to know how André Soltner made sorrel soup that was so green and so hot at the same time! In college I moonlighted as a cheese maker at Goat Lady Dairy, where I learned a holistic approach to food all the way from delivering goat kids and making chevre through to selling products to restaurants. These formative food experiences paved the way for my career that is firmly rooted in seeking out the best ingredients. To this day my favorite meal is soft-ripened goat cheese, great bread and baby lettuces. As far as working in a professional kitchen, it always amazed me that no matter how hectic, it all works out in the end. The worst disasters only took place in my dreams where I under-ordered and guests kept showing up or that I couldn’t understand the tickets! When I’m not in the kitchen, I practice Iyengar yoga, walk in Central Park, visit museums, drink new coffees and travel. What I love most about cooking is that it is bottomless — there is always more to learn!