I fell in love with cooking and baking around 10 years old when my best friend and I were making peanut butter cookies to earn our cooking badges for Girl Scouts. Like all good cooks we tasted the batter when it was done and to our surprise it was awful, so we asked for my mom’s help. She went over the recipe asking us to show her which utensil we used for which product and we had used a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon for the baking soda. She told us we needed to fix it, so we did the math and made the largest batch of peanut butter cookies of our life. After we got them all baked, my mother had us package them up in wax paper and give them away to the neighbors. I would watch Julia Child on TV with my dad on Saturday mornings and we would come up with some wonderful experiment for a new pastry cream to put in our éclairs or cream puffs or cheesecakes.
As an adult, I moved my family to Northern Michigan where I was taught how to cook incredible, homey, comfort food on an antique cast iron wood burning stove that my mother in law found at an old lumberjack camp and had put in her house. I developed an understanding of how important what an animal ate was to how it tasted. Sunday dinners took on a whole different meaning and I used them to learn whatever I could from a woman who was another one of the best cooks I ever knew. I now take that knowledge and apply it to my menus. Knowing the conditions of the environment where the food I am serving comes from, how it was raised and when it was harvested impacts the final flavor.
After an early retirement from my corporate job as a Marketing Director I was fortunate enough to turn my passion for cooking and event planning into a business. My son and I started Just In Thyme, a catering and event planning company. I studied for 8 years under my son, a great chef who has a Le Cordon Blue Culinary degree and experience working in restaurants in Carmel, San Francisco and Napa and who took the time to help me realize my dream of having my own catering company. He taught me how to take simple ingredients that were in the peak of their season and enhance their natural flavors using minimal ingredients. After receiving the Gilroy Dispatch’s “Best of Award” in catering for 3 years in a row and the Morgan Hill Times “Best of Award” in catering it was time to open Café Thyme and have a local restaurant in the city I have called home for most of my life.
My chefs and I listen to our customers talk about the food that they love and the cuisines that excite them. We take that information and fuse it with what is fresh and local in California and design a menu that is unique and representative to them. One of my favorite things to do is collaborate on new dishes, melding classic techniques with new ideas and cuisines
I visit Farmers Markets as often as I can and talk to as many food producers as possible to find out what is best in the season. For instance, one year nectarines could have the best flavor when the next year it could be peaches or plums. This information is invaluable when creating a dish that lets the main ingredient shine through. It is also why I don’t create static menus-the food supply and quality is always changing and creating menus that highlight the peak of the season changes from month to month.