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Chefs


2007 Guest Chefs


Eve Aronoff

Eve, The Restaurant

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Eve Aronoff
  • Graduated from Brandeis University in Boston, Massachusetts with a BA in Comparative Literature
  • Graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France with diplomas in French cuisine and wine and spirits
  • Working towards becoming a master of wine through WSET in London- currently 5 years into program (achieved certification and higher certification with honors)
  • Active member of the slow food movement - working to implement values through restaurant
  • Has worked in restaurant industry for 14 years - Boston, Ann Arbor, Israel, Paris
  • Specialized training and experience working at Nationally acclaimed Monahan's Seafood and Durham's Tracklements Smokery
  • Consulting work with Mediterrano, Café Zola and Durham's Tracklements Smokery

Eve the restaurant is a distinctive restaurant featuring contemporary cuisine based on the French philosophy of cooking. While based on traditional cooking methods, the food at eve is contemporary in its interpretation, with influences including North African, West African, Cuban and Vietnamese. The menu changes frequently, with the seasons, and highlights locally grown, limited production produce and foodstuffs. The restaurant also includes a hand-selected wine list which offers a diverse collection of wines including over 30 wines available by the glass, tasting size pours of wine as well as flights of wine. Designed by award-winning architect/designers, the restaurant features an elegant, yet extremely comfortable setting- so feel free to stop by for a glass of wine, appetizer or just to look around -you will always be welcome.


RJ Cooper

Vidalia

Washington, D.C.

RJ Cooper

As a ten year old growing up in Detroit, Michigan, RJ Cooper imagined himself a rock star chef playing in the kitchen with his mother and Sicilian grandmother who made everything from scratch. His first stint in the professional kitchen was as a high school student when he took an apprenticeship at a local bakery. Knowing right away that the culinary world was his calling, Cooper decided to further his education by attending The Culinary School at Kendall College in Illinois where he had the opportunity to work with chefs including Jean Joho, Tony Mantuano and Jean Banchet.

After graduation Cooper moved to Atlanta to work with Daniel Schaffhauser at The Ritz Carlton, Atlanta, Guenter Seeger at The Buckhead Ritz Carlton, and Gilbert LeCoze at Brasserie LeCoze. From here, Cooper went on to work with Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin. The time was invaluable for Cooper, teaching him how to get down and dirty with his staff in true Ripert style. During a three year move to Anchorage, Alaska, Cooper continued on his culinary development by taking the helm of the Crow’s Nest Restaurant in The Captain Cook Hotel. With the intent to bring the restaurant back to its former four star-four diamond quality, Cooper headed up the kitchen and revamped the menu, boosting staff morale and impressing locals.

In the late 1990’s, Cooper moved to Washington D.C., working at New Heights and Toka Café before joining Vidalia in 2004 as chef de cuisine. Jeffrey Buben took on the role as mentor for Cooper, teaching him the fundamentals of running a business and keeping systems in place. Cooper’s Modern American philosophy shines through in dishes like Truffled Heirloom Potatoes with Garlic Cream, Crispy Pork Belly and Juniper-Infused Sea Salt, where Cooper uses a delicate hand to transform ordinary potatoes and pork belly into a composed and elegant dish. While keeping things fresh and modern with a flavored salt, it’s clear from the juniper-scented salt, reminiscent of a classic French cure, and the smooth-as-silk garlic cream, that Cooper’s schooling is grounded in the fundamentals of classic French cooking.


Joanne Weir

Mindy Segal

Joanne Weir is many things... a world traveler... a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author... a cooking teacher... a chef and television personality. In her brand new 26-part public television series, "Joanne Weir's Cooking Class", Joanne's love of teaching cooking takes center stage. Her home kitchen becomes the classroom for each show as she works side-by-side with a real-world student for a hands-on cooking lesson. The student and viewer learn how to prepare a wide variety of Weir's latest Mediterranean-inspired recipes, using the freshest and most seasonal ingredients available. The "Cooking Class" series begins airing in August 2006, with a companion book to follow.

Awarded the very first IACP Julia Child Cooking Teacher Award of Excellence in 1997, Joanne shares a lifetime of experience that flavors everything she touches. Her first book, From Tapas to Meze (Crown, 1994,) was selected by Julia Child as one of her 12 personal favorites out of 1000 cookbooks published that year. From there she went on to publish a library of delights including a series of books for Williams Sonoma in 1997 called Seasonal Celebrations, You Say Tomato (Broadway Books 1998) and Weir Cooking, Recipes from the Wine Country (Time Life, 1999.) Her talents were finally brought to life in the PBS series "Weir Cooking in the Wine Country", shot on location in the Napa Valley. The companion book, Weir's More Cooking in the Wine Country (Simon & Schuster, 2001) went on to garner a James Beard Award nomination as well as an IACP Cookbook Award. Joanne's adopted hometown, San Francisco, is the culinary setting for "Weir Cooking in the City", her 26-part PBS series and companion book (Simon & Schuster, 2004) for which she received a James Beard Award for Best Cookbook, General Category in 2005. A completely revised version of From Tapas to Meze (Ten Speed Press, 2004) was re-released with spectacular food photographs and won the 2004 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Mediterranean Cookbook.

Joanne's passion for home cooking was stoked by a legacy of life in the kitchen. Joanne's great-grandmother operated a restaurant in Boston at the turn of the century called Pilgrim's Pantry. That enthusiasm for food was passed down to her mother, a professional chef and caterer, who worked for years with the legendary cookbook author, Charlotte Turgeon. Joanne continues that same tradition, though it wasn't until after getting a degree in Art Education from the University of Massachusetts and teaching Fine Arts in Boston that she found her way back to the table.

Joanne spent five years cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California and studied with Madeleine Kamman in New England and France and was awarded a Master Chef Diploma. Her ultimate calling has been in her teaching, which has taken her throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy,Thailand, South America, and England. She spends seven to eight months of the year touring the globe sharing her extensive background with regard to food theory and technique, in particular Mediterranean cuisine and the regional foods of the U.S. All these elements come alive in her thoughtful classes as well as her delightful words and television series.

www.joanneweir.com


Don Yamauchi

Tribute, Restaurant

Farmington Hils, MI

Don Yamauchi

Don Yamauchi signed on as the Executive Chef of Tribute in January 2005. Yamauchi’s creative and eye-opening flavor combinations push the boundaries of innovative cuisine to amuse and thrill diners on a nightly basis. He describes his exquisitely detailed food, distinguished by its diversity, inventiveness and his commitment to spectacular presentation, as “contemporary French with a global accent.”

Yamauchi comes to Tribute highly celebrated, recognized by Food and Wine Magazine as one of our country’s Best New Chefs, and a James Beard Nominee for Best Chef in the Midwest. His peers and critics note his “fierce dedication to perfection.” Chef Yamauchi explains: “I want to make the dining experience so special that the guest is left with an unforgettable memory of their visit to Tribute.”

Moreover, Yamauchi was handpicked by former Executive Chef Takashi Yagihashi for Tribute. Longtime friends full of mutual respect and admiration, these two men have shared histories in Chicago fine dining and cooked side by side at numerous fundraisers over the last ten years.

Born in Chicago, IL and raised in Skokie, IL, Yamauchi stayed close to home attending the Culinary School of Kendall College. Yamauchi takes over at Tribute after holding top positions in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, most recently Le Francais (which has been called the best French restaurant in America by the likes of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Mimi Sheraton and Craig Clairborn) and also four-star restaurants Carlos (in Highwood) and Gordon.