Chef in Black
When it comes to “aha!” moments, Dorene Humason knows one thing very well: A great idea rarely comes to life without focus, passion and a great deal of determination. Dorene, otherwise known as The Chef in Black, got hers during the end of a grueling 14-hour day in retail food sales. “I realized how much I wanted to do something I loved. I wanted to control my own destiny.” The Chef in Black’s epiphany involved something she often craved but couldn’t easily find. “I was drawn to the idea of making a one-of-a-kind salad dressing,” she explains. “It had to be a Chinese salad dressing and marinade that tasted exactly like what you might eat in a restaurant. It also had to be all-natural, fresh, versatile and, of course, delicious.” Dorene’s 25 years in the food business provided great training. She knew such a dressing was not in the marketplace. She also knew where to find those out-of-the-way Asian markets, where the exotic spices and oils could yield their distinctive and luscious secrets. Her life-long love of cooking and eating healthy foods also guided her efforts. After several back-to-the-drawing-board experiences in her Folsom, California home kitchen, The Chef in Black’s taste buds finally told her she had come up with the perfect blend of flavors. In 2007 she left her old job behind and, instead, focused on her new passion. “I found my dressing and named it Jaden (after jade, which Chinese treasure). I was determined to tell the world.” By early 2008 her product was in 450 grocery stores in California and Nevada.
You can find out more info at the Chef in Black’s Website: http://www.chefinblack.com
Maria Vieages began cooking at the age of 5 with her Sicilian mother and aunt. She helped them stuff artichokes for St. Joseph Day altars, make muffalettas for Chistmas Eve and roll bruccilone for Sunday dinner. Living in New Orleans, there was also a lot of gumbo stirring, pepper stuffing and trout frying. Although Maria’s cooking ventures started at 5, when she was 3, she would make hors d’ oeuvres of mayonnaise on white bread cut into squares. She would serve the apps on a tray to her mother and father. Her dad hated mayo but endured the appetizer as mom lovingly urged “Eat it , Tony”.
Maria started Maria’s Multi Regional Cuisine in New Orleans on February 13, 1997 and built a small café, upscale takeout and catering business to a staff of 42, catering off premise events of up to 2400 persons. Her personal chef clients include Rue McClanahan for whom she has cooked on several occasions. In August 2005, Maria lost her entire business in Hurricane Katrina with zero recovery from her insurance company or the government.
On September 17, 2006 Maria moved to Sonoma County and started Maria’s Multi Regional Cuisine on February 14, 2007.
Maria is producing her own cooking show in Santa Rosa, Ca. which is filmed all over the bay area. The show is called “RealMaria” which may be picked up by a national network and is in condensed version on you tube. Maria has auditioned for “The Next Food Network Star”, Season 6 and hosts a food talk radio show every Saturday- Maria’s Non Pompous Food Talk.
Maria continues to grow as a caterer and personal chef because of her diversity and ability to connect with people. Maria continues to study cuisine from all over the world due to her philosophy “We all have different roots yet are all connected”. Maria’s roots are Italian, Portugese and Canary Islander.
Mei Ibach was born and raised in a fishing village in Malaysia, near Singapore where she learned the secret of cooking fresh, seasonal Asian Cuisines from members of her Chinese family. In Northern California, she has worked in a variety of Asian kitchens, including Thai and Pacific Rim Restaurants. More recently, she has shared her professional Asian cooking techniques and authentic recipes at Santa Rosa Jr. College – Culinary Arts program and other private culinary centers. Her passions include cooking Pacific Rim cuisines and show-casing Artisan ingredients from local farms and purveyors.
Nora Bulloch MPH, MA, RD is a registered dietitian and health educator with over 16 years experience developing and facilitating health education and weight control groups. Ms Bulloch holds a master’s degree in nutrition education and a master’s degree in public health nutrition. She is a dietitian for the Northern California Center for Well-Being where she co-teaches the Weight Control Program, co-teaches childhood obesity prevention classes and offers private nutrition counseling services.