An interview with Chef Tamara Westerhold of Cherubina Catering…
Tell us about yourself
I’ve been in the kitchen as long as I can remember. Everything began in my Grandmother’s kitchen.
Who inspires you in the kitchen?
I am always inspired by the people I love. I carry with me so many memories of my Grandmother and her sisters who always made us feel like they lived just to feed us! When I cook for my daughter, I can see in her the same sense of feeling loved and cared for. Cooking her favorite food makes her feel like the most important person in the world, which is how I want everyone I cook for to feel.
What part of creating a dish do you enjoy the most?
I love every part of it, except doing the dishes. I always carry a notebook with me to write down ideas for future meals. I find inspiration everywhere. I really enjoy shopping for ingredients and I make it a point to establish personal relationships with all of my purveyors. They are experts at what they do and I am learning from them all the time. They help me so much. I know where all of my meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. come from. I am so fortunate to live in a part of the world where all of this is readily available. The community here relies on and supports one another.
Dinner at your local restaurant, do you order the usual, or try something new?
When it comes to what I eat, I am pretty predictable. I have my favorite dishes at each restaurant and I will undoubtedly order the same thing every time!
Describe your signature dish?
I don’t really have a specific signature dish. Soups, salads, and desserts are where I get most creative. That said, I have an undeniable obsession with honey. I use it in both sweet and savory dishes. In fact, I have planned 6 course meals around honey! It’s a remarkable ingredient.
If you weren’t a chef, what would be your job title?
Tell us about your biggest kitchen fail?
I’ve had many kitchen fails. Many of those have occurred when I was alone, or when I wasn’t alone but no one else noticed! One the most embarrassing fails was when I cut a large quantity of tomatoes in the wrong way and had the Chef throw them at me. I later learned that the Chef threw food at everyone.
What was your favourite food memory?
Eating eggs and Spanish chorizo at my Grandmother’s yellow kitchen table.
How do you play on the weekend?
I live a pretty simple life. I like to walk in the beautiful Redwoods, cook, read, watch movies, spend time with friends and family.
What music are you listening to when you cook?
Reggae, Hip Hop, 70’s Funk, Led Zeppelin.
What are you watching out of the kitchen?
British Crime Dramas or Documentaries on Netflix.
What does your daily routine look like and what do you leave to chance?
Take care of my daughter and my Mom, cook and develop recipes, get some form of exercise. Other than those things, I like to let the day take me.
If money were no object, how would your life be different, in and out of the kitchen?
Buy my Mom a house and get her a private nurse. Open a soup kitchen with a full staff, create safe and affordable housing for those in need. I would use the majority of my money to serve my community. For myself, I would love to have a place with a bigger kitchen and more storage space for all my kitchen tools and machines! I would probably still cook the same and eat the same. I would also love to continue exploring, traveling, and eating in different parts of the world.
What excites you most about the future, as a chef and as a human?
We seem to be waking up in some very important ways. It excites me that we are beginning to approach learning in a more experiential way. Schools are discovering that in order for people to truly learn, they must be taught in ways that develop and nurture them as a whole person. I think we learn best through direct engagement with our environment. As a culinary student, I learned some essential skills that gave me a solid foundation on which to build. That was a key component in my overall education. But it has been invaluable for me to explore new ways of cooking and eating in order to fully round myself out as a chef. For example, reading and cooking from cookbooks has been essential to my growth. My present and future goals are to continue to learn and grow. I think we learn best by doing. You just have to get in the kitchen and cook!
Where can we find you online?