!cid_450467E4-1AAF-4D1F-9235-EBC224CE959F Born and raised in Hawaii (already I’m so cool!), I grew up surfing, tanning, and trying to get as far away from my household as I could. So I squandered an otherwise pricey (though I was on scholarship) college prep education to work my way up the male ladder in restaurant kitchens, the only place I felt comfortable and mildly confident. I was going to be a chef, godammit and, in the seventies and eighties, this was not an easily achievable feat for a GIRL.

I cooked my way through Northern Italian and Continental (how “retro”) kitchens in Portland, Oregon. Then moved on to New Orleans, determined as ever but finding that city stuck in, say the mid-fifties, women-in-the-kitchen-progression-wise. But I learned all things Creole and Cajun, make a mean gumbo and to this day, can impress all my friends with my food.

I did make it to Chef, seems I have innate, high-volume management skills to compliment my culinary abilities. I was finally discovered in New Orleans by Sanders International Ventures at World Expo ’84, and wound up travelling with them to Vancouver and Australia for the 1986 and 1988 World’s Fairs as their Executive Chef, lording over up to 100 cooks cranking out food ranging from Chinese to Greek to German.

So I have some good stories and possibly a unique view of the world. At middle age (did I actually say that?) you tend to look back at life and wonder what you’ll be known for. The cooking and travelling and managing massive, international food production in strange cities is behind me now. I finally mustered up the confidence to do something else. But those days in the culinary trenches are bittersweet so I’m writing about them. Oh and yeah, I’ll also write about what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years: designing kitchens and bars. Who doesn’t love a good kitchen story?

More about me on Thrillist       https://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/why-8-chefs-quit-the-kitchen

7 responses to “About

  1. Hi Marisa, Just finished Karr’s Lit too. She and Jeanette Walls stand out in the field. You’re in there too. You’ve made great strides and I hope Stepping into the Water gets the publicity it deserves. Though Free To Bloom is touted as fiction, you know that it’s strongly based in truth, and the comments I’m getting are ‘how brave and open I am”. We have to write what flows out of us. Keep in touch. Hugs, Jill


  2. Thanks for the follow, Marisa. I’ll try to keep things interesting.

    Best wishes,

    Nick Fox


  3. Everything about New Orleans is interesting. Lived there Iin my formative years (21-25), now daughter lives there. Look forward to more great blogs!


  4. Hello, I am a very old friend of Chuck S. I grew up with his son, David. Would you have an update on him? I was just doing a google search and came across your post. Could you pls private email me? Thanks.


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