At age 16, I started working at the casual dining restaurant Garfield’s in Moline, Illinois. Over the next five years, I worked in a variety of casual and fine dining establishments in the area including Red Crow Grille and Crow Valley Country Club. From 2001 to 2005, I attended Johnson and Wales University in Norfolk, Virginia, majoring in culinary arts and food service management and interning at TRU restaurant in downtown Chicago. Upon graduation, I worked in various restaurants and hotels in Minneapolis; Portland, Maine; Virginia Beach; Coldfoot, Alaska; and northeast Iowa before returning to the Quad Cities as executive sous chef at the Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, Iowa. Now, I'm a chef at Hy-Vee Silvis.