Brenda Steele is a private chef & recipe writer, who specializes in menu development. She takes great pleasure in the opportunity to create vibrant, delicious & nourishing meals using high quality local & seasonal ingredients. She particularly enjoys bringing the traditional food practices of: pickling, cheese making, salt curing, fermenting & preserving into her culinary work, along with foraging wild edible flora & fauna to add special touches to a meal. The many hours, days and sometimes weeks it takes to craft the flavors behind a meal, appeal to her as much as the final meal itself. The idea that an evenings dish might be enhanced by a trailside wild fennel blossom picked that afternoon or that a single sliver of citrus peel cured for months, that daily grows, and mysteriously develops into a wonderfully unexpected flavor, brings about a profound sense of joy and satisfaction.
Although a native Californian with a deep love for the Golden State, Brenda currently divides her time between the high desert mesa of Taos, New Mexico & the Windy City, of Chicago, IL. She began working in the restaurant industry at the tender age of 14, and has actively worked within the field ever since. For 10 years she worked as a private chef in the professional yachting industry, traveling throughout the globe. She considers her nomadic-chef lifestyle to have played a pivotal role in developing her eclectic & adventurous food aesthetic, as well as her bold & colorful palette; having been profoundly influence by the foods and cultures she has explored over the years.
Her love of foraging wild edible flora & fauna, as well as working directly with local farmers and artisans, can be credited to her last 12 years living in the abundantly beautiful, wild natural environment of Taos, New Mexico. There she learned to spend time in the soil where the food she works with grows. She began working directly with the farmers who provide her with product. She discovered that to walk, talk & spend time with farmers on their land, is to understand their relationship with it. This connection and understanding is paramount to her style of cooking. Discovering what the land tells us it wants to grow has helped to create a depth to the way she works with food, and has helped her to understand how to produce and craft the ideal flavors from it……
For the last 5 years, Brenda has continued personal freelance chef work, as well as menu consulting & recipe development for clients in her home town as well as in California & New York, She has recently developed a new blog to showcase recipes, and to hone her skills for future forays into the world of cookbook writing.
When she is not developing menus, writing recipes, or hosting a private client dinner, she enjoys rambling alone in the woods for a cache of wild boletes & thimbleberries or soaking in the hot springs, amongst the big horn sheep, under the stars of the wide open skies of New Mexico.