Thierry Rautureau, the Chef in the Hat, recently announced his plans to sell Rover’s Restaurant. It set me to thinking about the legacy that a talented chef inspires.
Thierry bought Rover’s the same year we started Quillisascut Cheese Company (1987). He has always been a champion of our cheese and brought that French concept of cooking with fresh local ingredients to life. His announcement takes me back to those early years. This is a BOLD THANK YOU to Thierry, so much of what we do at Quillisascut Farm School has been influenced and shaped by his passion for excellence.
The enthusiasm coming out of the restaurant kitchens where we sold our cheese back in the late 80’s and 90’s – for local seasonal products- was explosive. I remember a fellow farmer who sold fresh produce to Thierry, relaying the story of bringing the first baby zucchini’s of the season into Rover’s restaurant and watching Thierry pick up the tiny squash with flower attached, kiss it and dance around the kitchen- so ecstatic for the new season of produce.
What Thierry gave to his kitchen staff was something unique; ambition, love for quality, inspiration to be the best. For years the highlight of our month were Rick’s cheese deliveries to Seattle. Entering the back door at Rovers was a celebration. The young cooks were enthralled with what was coming in the kitchen and “Chef” was their joyful ringleader.
Today you can find those mature cooks, masters of their own ships, spread out around the country continuing to share their own prowess behind the stove and inspiring the next generation of cooks. Sarah Hayden opened Cafe Sarah located in North Creek, New York. Chef /owner Viljo Basso opened the highly acclaimed Syringa Sushi restaurant in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Bill Morris delights the membership at The Rainier Club in Seattle. Rodger Babel has Creative Palate Works in Napa, California. And our good friend Chef Karl Vennes, who to this day challenges and shares with us his love for delicious well prepared meals. Our lives would be so much less without you. This is a little sampling of the reach of The Chef in the Hat.
It is hard to tell our story without telling the story of all these people who have touched our lives. A community of relationships, be they our family, neighbors, the people who support our farm or cheese business, and the ideas planted by our farm school.