A Kodiak high school graduate has been a sous (SOOS) chef at a celebrated French restaurant in Manhattan for about five years now. Mary Donaldson had the chance to interview him on how he took the path from cooking in local restaurants in high school, to working for a fancy, high end restaurant in New York.
Born and raised in Kodiak, 27-year-old Colin Whiddon has had a love of working with food since his early days. He says he first began cooking in high school at several restaurants in town like Henry’s, the Chartroom Lounge, the Buskin River Inn and Mill Bay Coffee to name a few. When it was time to pick a college, he opted for culinary school over a traditional four year college.
(Colin 1 :12s “…in Hyde Park, New York”)
After two years, Whiddon received his associate degree in occupation studies with a focus on culinary arts and returned to Kodiak. After about a year of restaurant work back on the island, Whiddon returned to the east coast, where he tells me he had a chef’s typical job interview.
(Colin 2 :30s “…La Grenouille.”)
He says he has been a sous chef at this restaurant in Manhattan for about five years now, but not consecutively. He took a year break after his third year at La Grenouille and experienced chef work for a family in Maine for short stint, as well as having the opportunity to work for one New York’s top five restaurants, the Gramercy Tavern in New York.
(Colin 3 :24s “…skills from that place.”)
He says after spending time in that kitchen, he returned to La Genouille and has been there ever since. He says he feels lucky to have held a job at this high end restaurant simply because the average life span for a restaurant in New York is about five years. What he enjoys most about being a chef is the combination of creativity and consistency in the kitchen.
(Colin 4 :34s “…looks exactly the same.”)
Whiddon shared his sous chef skills Saturday when he hosted a sold out baking workshop at the Baptist Mission Pavilion. He demonstrated how to make two classic French desserts, a lemon sabayon tart with a pine crust and a strawberry rhubarb galette. Whiddon says because interest is great, he wants to offer more workshops in the future when he makes his yearly trip home.
I’m Mary Donaldson.