About the Chef
My name is Stephanie (Lulu in some circles) and I’m a chef but it took me a while to get here… I started my career in business after college. I was then recruited by a non-profit organization and spent several years there before pursuing an opportunity to go to culinary school.
When I graduated culinary school, I was hired to open a new restaurant for some local business owners. I spent two years revising practices in their first restaurant and developing their new restaurant concept. We had our first profitable weekend less than a month after we opened but it didn’t take long to realize that restaurants aren’t for me. I taught cooking classes even while working for that restaurant and developed a passion for sharing what I learned in culinary school. I decided to leave restaurants for good and focus on teaching people how to cook… and I love everything about it. More than anything else, I love how excited my students get when expanding their culinary knowledge. I now teach at an accredited culinary school and I still teach cooking classes, both private and public, for people who want more instruction but I realized I could share more with more people (at very little cost, comparatively) by taking my lessons online. So here I am!
About the Site
I started cooking when I was tall enough to see over the stove. Since I didn’t enroll in culinary school until I was 29, I already had quite a few years of cooking experience. Not until beginning culinary school did I realize that despite my many years of cooking, what I knew about food and the preparation of it only scratched the surface. My knowledge was limited to my own experiences and what I learned from TV (and there’s a lot of bad information out there). The more I learned, the more I wanted to share with my friends and family who also wanted to learn but weren’t committed to the food industry as a career. When learning a trick or technique in culinary school I often thought, “this is something everyone should know. Why isn’t this common knowledge?” Out of that, Kitchen No. 4 was created.
This site goes through all the classes I took (and now teach) in culinary school. Each class builds on the one before it and goes in-depth with information. Some of the techniques I outline will only be attempted by the most daring of home cooks but even if you have no interest in making your own demi-glace, the information in the lesson will help expand your knowledge of food and help you as you prepare other dishes. I move through the lessons just as I did in culinary school, skipping the bulk preparation and focusing on principles that benefit home cooks. If you stick with it you’ll understand the cooking process like never before. You’ll grow more confident in your abilities and you’ll be able to create your own signature dishes without a recipe. Maybe more importantly, you’ll be able to identify bad techniques in otherwise good recipes to prevent disasters in the kitchen (that happens for me a lot).
Technique makes all the difference in cooking. Learning proper techniques will change the taste of even your existing go-to recipes. I encourage you to follow the lessons and soak in as much as you can. If you do, you’ll be a better cook than 3/4 of the students I knew in culinary school. (Not kidding!)
In addition, I’m close to launching another website dedicated to educating people about nutrition and healthy eating. At least, what I call healthy eating (which includes butter and lard and heavy cream and many natural foods you’ve been warned to stop eating for the last 70 years). I’ve become increasingly passionate about limiting processed foods from my diet and I’ve learned a lot about it. People are always fascinated by the food facts I share with them so I decided it’s time to start writing about it. Stay tuned, that site will launch in the summer of 2014.
Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you along the way. Email me if you don’t want to comment. Hit me up on Facebook on the Kitchen No. 4 page. Tweet me. I’m here for you and I want you to get the most out of the lessons. If you’re ready, visit the Online Lessons page now!
There are a few questions I field regularly so I thought this would be a great place to answer them.
Who is your favorite TV chef?
Technique is key for me and when I think of TV chefs with good technique, Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentis, Michael Symon, Jamie Oliver, and Mario Batali all come to mind. One who’s not culinary school trained but who has solid technique is Martha Stewart. Seriously. Sometimes it’s hard for me to watch people cook on TV, though. I get riled up when I see someone who clearly doesn’t know what they’re doing hosting a cooking show. It’s like the blind leading the blind.
The chefs who inspire me who you don’t see on mainstream TV as much are guys like Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, and Paul Bocuse. They’re all living culinary legends and I’d chop off my own left arm to have dinner with any of them.
What culinary school did you go to?
I graduated from class from The Culinary Institute at Platt College in Oklahoma City, honored to be the Culinarian of the Year in 2010. I was the team captain of the culinary competition team and we were the first team in state history to receive silver medals in an ACF competition… and we did it twice that year (once at the state competition and again at regionals in Indianapolis, IN).
What’s your favorite meal to prepare or make for other people?
This is tricky because my favorite meals have just a few good ingredients but I always think people expect something flashy when I cook for them. I like to surprise people by making something they’ve had a million times but making it with good ingredients and with good technique. Like well-cooked, fresh seafood. Or a really good burger. Or bread pudding. I love to hear people say, “this is the best [insert food] I’ve ever had.”
You talk a lot about restaurant supply stores. Where is your favorite?
My favorites in Oklahoma City are Oklahoma Restaurant Supply and Market Source. If you’re not in the OKC metro area and you’re having a hard time finding one, let me know and I’ll see what I can find.
Can I take private cooking lessons from you? / Will you cater an event I’m having?
Absolutely, private classes are my favorite so I’ll book them around the clock! Visit my live classes page for more information.