We joke that I was born with a wooden spoon in my hand! I grew up on a farm in north central Iowa where Mom and Dad supported healthy lifestyles with farm-fresh produce as a daily part of the family table. I spent my time hanging onto the apron strings of the women in my family and pulling weeds with the men. Food is the legacy we share.
As a teen, my time spent working in our family bakery café, the Daily Bread Bakery, was important for honing my skill in both pastry and culinary arts. My focaccia bread is still legendary! As our business based on organic and local ingredients expanded, my knowledge and skills advanced. During my formal culinary education at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, I was the single student recognized from a candidate pool of four universities for my outstanding scholastic and culinary achievements. As a result, I was awarded the opportunity to study food and wine in Italy, becoming part of the elite group of food and wine experts know as the Amici di Castello Banfi. This unique opportunity defined my current perspective on the relationship food and wine share at the dinner table and spurred me on to earn internationally recognized certifications in spirits, mixology and wine. This knowledge and my experiences working for multiple distilleries is something I share with others in my menus and cooking classes today.
International cuisine fascinates me. My travels have led me to Singapore and Malaysia, where I studied the foods of Southeastern Asia by spending time with locals in markets and farms and with chefs from India, Thailand and China to name a few. Then to Germany, where I spent time in cities and farms soaking in both modern and traditional German cooking, wines and agriculture. Most recently, I’ve traveled to Fiji and dipped into the cuisine of Oceania. My time with Chef Rajesh and in small Fijian villages was filled with traditional seafood dishes, tropical gardens and modern fusion cuisine. I have worked diligently to gather the flavors and culinary technics of the world and bring them back to my kitchen and your table.
As my career has progressed, I’ve come back home to Iowa. I opened and managed a new location for my family’s business and began teaching classes on Iowa wines and international cuisines. Then, I was hired as a chef at Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery, a vineyard and restaurant where I was quickly promoted to executive chef, creating elaborate pairing dinners and a thriving cooking class program.
Today, I have the pleasure of helping you travel to the far corners of the world right here in your own Hy-Vee grocery store. From Chef Specials in our food court, bridal/event catering menus and specialty chef dinners, to teaching classes and live cooking experiences while you shop, the culinary possibilities are endless. Join me at the Davenport Hy-Vee West Kimberly at Pine store for a unique culinary experience or just to help you pick out the best avocado in the produce aisle.
Tastefully Yours, Chef Elizabeth Hill