Chef Biographys

Matt O'Neill | Jan Bulla-Baker

Jack Baker| Philippe Bironneau |
Eduardo Brondízio Patrick McCandless

David Davenport |David Gower | Monique Jamet Hooker

Francie Hurst| Scott Marsh | Mary Jo McClintic

Jacob Goodman | Dr. Alfredo Minetti | Yuko Okumura
Heather O'Sullivan

Candace Grover | Aggie Sarkissian | Elisabeth Simeri
David and Kristen Tallent Nels Boerner Katarina Mandarino
Ross Hughes

Matt O'Neill

Matt received his chef training in Dublin, Ireland. He served as a head chef instructor for the Culinary Arts Academy of Cincinnati in conjunction with the Culinary Institute of America. Matt earned numerous awards throughout his career, including medals for culinary competitions and the John H. Sector award for his contribution to education. A member of the American Culinary Federation and the American Hotel Association, as well as a member of the Indiana Writer's Center, Matt is the author of a successful cookbook, The Seasons at Walden Inn. He served as Innkeeper and chef at Walden Inn from its inception in 1986 until recently. Matt continues his culinary pursuits with the Runcible Spoon, co-ownership of the R Street Bistro in Bedford, and co-ownership of The Bloomington Cooking School.

Jan Bulla-Baker

Jan, co-owner of The Bloomington Cooking School, credits her mother's fine taste in food and her father's insistence on eating for her interest in cooking. From Robinson, Illinois, the home of Heath candy bars, she started candy making as a youth. She had her own Chocolate Factory in Bloomington for three years, where she created over 30 flavors of truffles. Her truffles have been consumed at the Indianapolis Symphony for over 15 years. Jan's encounters with cookbooks led to self-taught adventures in cooking. Her travels to Italy broadened her interests in slow food and fine wine. Trained as an English teacher, she looks forward to classes where the tests are edible. 

Jack Baker

Jack, Jan's husband, is a professional Mechanical Engineer working at IU's Chemistry department, has been collecting wine for twenty years. He brings his knowledge and love of wine to the classroom, yet encourages each of his students to develop his own nose and palate. Jack's trips to California and Europe always include sampling wines from the great grape regions.

Philippe Bironneau

Born and raised on the west coast of France, Philippe started cooking professionally while in school to keep busy. While living in Germany he was introduced to bread and pastry making by artisan bakers. When he moved to the United States over 20 years ago, Philippe landed in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he discovered authentic American cuisine and immediately fell in love with it. He moved to the wine countries of Oregon 10 years later where he decided to learn the styles of his colleagues, American chefs. He attended the Western Culinary Institute (A Cordon Bleu School) before moving to the Midwest. Prior moving to Bloomington, Philippe lived in Chicago where he was a consulting chef. Philippe recently joined the team at the new Hilton Garden Inn. 

Dr. Eduardo Brondízio

Dr. Eduardo Brondízio is a native of Brazil who spent much of his life around rural areas of the country and in the kitchen. He is an Associate Professor of Anthropolgy and Chair of the Anthropology Department at Indiana University. His research interest includes ethnobotany, agriculture and land use of Amazonian farmers with particular attention to native Caboclos and recent colonists, and issues of cultural identity and rural development in Brazil and Latin America. His research includes analyzing the commodity chain of Amazonian food items, from the local producer to national and international markets to consumers around the world. Cooking is a passion he enjoys daily, a way of thinking and understanding the world, and a family heritage to nurture and pass on. You can have a close look at his ethnographic research on Amazonian Caboclos by visiting the exhibit "Forest Farmers of the Amazon Estuary" at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, at Indiana University. The exhibit is co-curated with his wife, anthropologist Andrea D. Siqueira. It is based on an extensive collection of local artifacts and material culture, and detail photographic documentation of daily life, the economy, the environment, and the ethnobotany of the region. 

Patrick McCandless

Chef Patrick McCandless brings over 12 years experience to the culinary industry. He is a graduate of Sullivan University's National Center for Hospitality Studies with a degree in Culinary Arts. During his studies he received the President's Cup Award and an Academic Medal of Honor. Chef McCandless's culinary training began in his home town of Vincennes, Indiana. At a young age he began studying and fine tuning his techniques under Pea-fections Chef/Owner and Johnson and Wales graduate Bill Stenger. While attending school he worked in some of the finest restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky. Upon graduating he studied under Chef Anoosh Shariat, who at the time was Executive Chef at Park Place on Main. Chef McCandless moved to Bloomington in 2007 working at several establishments getting the feel for what Bloomington patrons wanted before setting his sights on Chapman's in the spring of 2010.

David Davenport

David Davenport, Nick's chef, is classically trained, with a PHD in anthropology. His interest lies in classical baking with new twists and great flavors. He has also been working a personal chef for years.
 

David Gower

David's passion and enthusiasm for Italy and Italian cuisine led him to a five-year trip to the Italian peninsula where he cooked all over, from vegan tai chi schools to high-speed trains. David's knowledge of food and travel led him to create his own international food and wine touring company. Proficient in Roman and Florentine cuisines and trained by several famous chefs, as well as professionally trained at the New England Culinary Institute, he is now doing Italian translations for various companies and working as a personal chef.

Monique Jamet Hooker

Best described as a culinary pioneer, Monique is a chef, teacher and author with a lifelong enthusiasm for food and travel. Trained in Europe, she moved to New York where she worked alongside and made lasting friendships with Jacques Pepin, among others. Moving to Chicago, she operated a cooking school, catering company and restaurant, and wrote an award-winning book, Cooking with the Season, A Year in my Kitchen, with Tracie Richardson. She currently lives in DeSoto, Wisconsin. She travels extensively, teaching and lecturing throughout the United States.

Francie Hurst

According to Francie, her profession is nursing, but baking is her passion. Self-schooled by the world's great baking masters Julia Childs, Flo Braker, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Nick Malgieri, Francie started when she was very young, always trying new recipes in her mother's kitchen. She considers herself a "Southern cook" as she uses the skills she learned in the Southern tradition. Previously co-owner of Just Dessert Me, and truly famous for her desserts, Francie is the RN manager at the Cook Family Health Center.

Scott Marsh

Scott is the former owner of the Red Chair Bakery. Like many of our chefs, Scott's interest in cooking comes from his childhood in the kitchen. Scott stays busy with his job as a circulating surgical nurse, and as a husband and father.

Mary Jo McClintic, R.D.C.D.

Mary Jo, has a B.S. in Food and Nutrition from Purdue University and has worked for the past 16 years in Outpatient Nutrition Therapy with a special emphasis on cholesterol, weight and diabetes management. She is currently providing outpatient counseling services, Diabetes Medical Nutrition group therapy, and grocery store tours to clients in Bloomington and the surrounding areas.

Jacob Goodman

Jacob works at Bloomingfoods and is very interested in healthy vegan cuisine. Jacob Goodman is also working at a new restaurant in town, Feast.

Dr. Alfredo Minetti

Alfredo Minetti is a native of Uruguay who grew up in Argentina and Brazil. A musician and archaeologist, he has a master degree in anthropology and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology. A grandson of Italian immigrants, Alfredo spent most of his life in the kitchen and developed a passion for cooking, especially Brazilian and Italian food. As an anthropologist, he is interested in the role of food and eating in the creation of cultural identity, or in what can be inferred through certain foods and eating behaviors that speak of class and gender divisions in specific cultures. Some cultures draw extensively in a couple of realms using these as metaphors to speak of most of their socio-political reality. In the case of Brazil, food is one of these realms. Brazil can indeed be approached and understood through food and eating. As a musician, he is the creator of the Bloomington-based tango ensemble Tangamente, and of the annual Zero Hour Tango Fest.

Yuko Okumura

A native of Tokyo, Japan, Yuko attended a regional culinary school and graduated with a specialty in Macrobiotic cooking and philosophy. After her marriage to Zen Buddhist scholar and priest, Shohaku Okumura, she became the resident chef, or Tenzo, at Zenjo-ji temple in Ujitawara, Japan. After moving to Minneapolis in 1993, Yuko furthered her career through catering, teaching classes and by working in the deli of the local co-op. In the summer of 2003, she moved with her family to Bloomington to establish a permanent home for the San Zen Community.

Heather O'Sullivan

Heather is an artisan bread maker, creating her magic at the Scholar's Inn Bakehouse.

Candace Grover

In HS and college Candace Grove lived very close to Montreal which had a great Chinatown, which really sparked her interest in Chinese food and cooking. Candace states that the discipline involved in Asian cooking made her a better cook. “My first attempt at Peking Duck taught me to read a recipe thoroughly and be prepared. I was
having guests to dinner and found out the day of that I should have started a day ahead to get the duck thoroughly dry before roasting. I resorted to a hair dryer that time. My interest in Asian foods and cooking continued, with some trial and errors, as usual when learning new techniques and working with unfamiliar food products. I got very interested in Vietnamese food several years ago when Andrea Ngyuen's book Into the Vietnamese Cooking came out. Cindy Bradley had purchased the same book and we compared notes. We had a question about an ingredient. I looked up Andrea Nguyen on line, and we became friends. She asked me to test recipes for her (then) up-coming book Asian Dumplings 10 Speed Press, Aug. 2009 which is now in its second printing. The summer of '08 I spent learning to make dumplings and wrappers from all over Asia, not just Vietnam and China, but Laos, Malaysia, India, Singapore etc.” Candace can often be found upstairs at Goods for Cooks and is a fountain of food information.

Aggie Sarkissian

Aggie grew up working in her Armenian family's grocery store. It was at a very early age that she learned to cook from her parents and grandparents. Over the past 30 years, her love of food and entertaining has grown. Friends continued to encourage Aggie to share her expertise, and now she's the proud co-owner of a catering company called, Word of Mouth.

Elisabeth Simeri

Elisabeth Simeri brings her artist's eye to the food she creates while utilizing the classical skills she honed in culinary school at the Colorado Institute of Art. An Indiana native, Elisabeth graduated from DePauw University and spent the past twelve years in Colorado. Most recently, she taught Ceramics and Photography at Steamboat Springs High School and operated her personal chef service, The Creative Table.

David and Kristen Tallent

Locally grown David and Kristen met while working in a Bloomington restaurant 6 years ago and have hardly left the kitchen since. In 2000, they both went to New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America. During their studies and following, they both worked in the finest restaurants in New York and Atlanta. While attending C.I.A., David became acquainted with the Slow Food Movement and found inspiration in its principle of using local, seasonal and organic ingredients. Embracing these ideals, David decided to move back to Bloomington and, with the help of local farmers, started a restaurant with unique Indiana cuisine. Shortly after marrying, David and Kristen began renovating the property on West Kirkwood and opened Restaurant Tallent on November 7th, 2003.

David and Kristen Tallent

Locally grown David and Kristen met while working in a Bloomington restaurant 6 years ago and have hardly left the kitchen since. In 2000, they both went to New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America. During their studies and following, they both worked in the finest restaurants in New York and Atlanta. While attending C.I.A., David became acquainted with the Slow Food Movement and found inspiration in its principle of using local, seasonal and organic ingredients. Embracing these ideals, David decided to move back to Bloomington and, with the help of local farmers, started a restaurant with unique Indiana cuisine. Shortly after marrying, David and Kristen began renovating the property on West Kirkwood and opened Restaurant Tallent on November 7th, 2003.

Nels Boerner

Nels Boerner has worked with food for almost 20 years as a baker, a cook, and a chef. His other occupations have been, in no particular chronology, bicycle mechanic, soda jerk, juggler, semi driver, gymnastics instructor, asphalt paver. He lives with his darling wife out in the woods.

Katarina Mandarino

Katarina Mandarino grew up in Northwest Indiana and received a B.S in biology from Butler University in 2010. Katarina was raised cooking Italian food with her mom and aunts in their home kitchen. Now living in Bloomington, Indiana, Katarina dedicates herself to community service and social awareness. She works part-time at a local retailer Goods for Cooks, owns and operates a small business as a personal chef, and maintains an active role in a neighborhood ecovillage and garden.

Ross Hughes

Ross Hughes is a Certified Cicerone®, Certified BJCP beer judge, Homebrewer, and all-around beer nerd. An English expat based in Bloomington, his passion for craft beer started after a desire to find a local pub lead him to discover the beers of Upland and Bloomington Brewing Companies.

Whether he's drinking cask ales reminiscent of his homeland or trying the latest experimental hopped IPA, Ross enjoys a wide variety of beer styles and is always looking to share his passion for beer.

 

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