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Chef Don’s Bio

I’ve spread my working life over a number of industries, from being a cofounder of The Missoula Children’s Theatre to performing as a leading baritone with Seattle Opera, to stints as a sales executive and consultant on both the retail and wholesale ends in the business world, to serving as a Development Officer in the nonprofit sector. 

In all of my professional personas, my passion for food-its preparation, and learning what it does for us-has been the constant that helped me keep it together.

My journey in the world of cooking began at about age 12 when my hard-pressed, working mother of four kids (I was the youngest) gave me the gift of a comfort zone in the kitchen. 

She started by drafting me to help with the Holiday baking, and followed by eliciting my help with getting the evening meal on the table.  By the time I was 14, I was capable of putting an entire dinner together, although she never fully relinquished her position in our family’s division of labor.  That draft as her kitchen assistant was perhaps the greatest gift she gave me as a young man. 

While working in the Opera world, I associated with people from all over the world who readily shared their cultural cuisines and favorite dishes, or sought them out while visiting Seattle.  My world was further opened by travel to other cities and countries where I experienced new worlds of flavor and food.

In the early ‘80s, my father had a heart attack, followed by a stroke, and I was suddenly aware of my own vulnerability to the lifelong effects of eating a meat-based diet.   I so loved my Dad, but as I watched him as a disabled older man, I knew I didn’t want to be “that man.”  Healthful eating became a priority.

I was inspired to learn about vegetarianism from my daughter, and further studied it when I married my wife, who also encouraged me to continue reengineering and sharing the comfort-food recipes of my youth.  As I pursued a meatless or plant-based lifestyle, I discovered that my plate was far more interesting, colorful and flavorful.  And today, the meatless options have become even more varied with the continued development of plant-based “meats.” 

I feel blessed that both my wife and I (particularly my wife) enjoy a pretty robust and healthy lifestyle as a result of eating predominately meatless for the past 30 years.  I guess the recently coined term “flexitarian” best describes our diet over that time frame.  

My goal in life is to help as many souls as I can possibly reach to adopt a plant-based approach to eating.  That change doesn’t have to be made all at once.   It can start with one to two meatless days a week.  For my part, I promise a more, adventuresome, creative and flavorful approach to your evening meals in the process.   

All the while you’ll enjoy a healthier and more vibrant you, while you make a difference every day in the health of the planet.