“Really, I’m an artist above all else. I draw, I paint. Food is just one of my applications,” Chef Tiffany says.
She discovered her love of cooking early in life. Coming from a big family, she was making family dinners by the time she was eleven years old. In Gainesville, Florida her grandparent’s had a lake house with a garden that she can remember picking from to make salads. Growing up in a military meant lots of moving around, living everywhere from Michigan to California to Greece and London. But, spending summers and holidays at the lake house made it a kind of home.
Tiffany didn't fall into the world of professional cooking right way. “I’m a career changer,” she joked. After high school, she worked in libraries, following her parents to Germany and went to school there. Then, for five years she stayed home with her kids and ran a small bakery business on the side. In 2011 she suffered great personal tragedy and moved to Florida and entered the culinary world with full force. She went from being a self-described “well-kept housewife” to being a full time culinary student, a full time employee at an award winning steak house, and a single mom. Tiffany kept the big picture in mind while struggling through the balancing act of starting over. She spent her entire paycheck on a nanny, “I had to ensure that my children were safe, healthy, and happy- my #1 job.” Her focus paid off tremendously; she graduated from the Art Institute of Tampa with a 4.0 and met the man she would eventually marry working the line at on of the top ten steakhouses in the nation. Today, working with College Chefs, her schedule is much more balanced and works great for her kids.
Chef Tiffany explains that she tries to provide the men of Kappa Alpha Order at University of Florida with the southern comfort food they grew up on, but with a high-quality gourmet twist. They guys know how to push the buttons of an artistic chef; as a running joke they would write “Hamburger Helper” on the weekly menu. She played the game well though, making her own healthy version of the dish completely from scratch using grass-fed beef. “They went nuts for it,” she said. Always creative, Chef Tiffany tries to “ease them into gourmet” with other unique creations such as ghost pepper maple syrup.
Coming to work for College Chefs, she didn't know what to think of this company working in such a unique niche in the market. Over time she started to realize a drastic difference between the “attention to detail, integrity, and work ethic” of College Chefs and its employees and other companies. “I care a lot. My standards are really high, I don't compromise. It’s my kitchen. [College Chefs] supports me, not question me,” Chef Tiffany explains, “The house director may call me particular.” She continues on to describe the integrity across the board. “College Chefs is great about finding people that really care.”
She’s not into the hype of cooking shows, but enjoys watching the kid challenges with her kids. She has an eight year old son and a ten year old daughter. They “love to get in the kitchen […and they] have cute little aprons.” When she’s not in the kitchen or resting she’s traveling, going to concerts, and of course, eating!
You can check out some of Chef Tiffany's beautiful creations below, or find them on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Keep scrolling to learn more about her in a Q&A.
Q: What are your favorite foods to cook and favorite foods to eat?
A: I like making pretty food, so desserts (multi-component desserts). I like to see everything married nicely together, I get excited about it. […] I’m not a big sweets eater though. I’m one of the skinniest chefs you’ll ever meet. I’m running around all day. (Chef Tiffany explains why she hates the saying “never trust a skinny chef”) They don't realize how physically demanding it is, no matter what kitchen you’re in or where you work.
We travel a lot, we spend a weekend a month in Savannah, Carolina. I always order a chef tasting menu; I want to eat what they’re proud to feed me and try to eat every bite because I know what it’s like to prepare [the food].
Q: What’s your best food memory?
A: The first impactful thing was the year I lived in Greece when I was 13/14 years old. Traveling around the islands I was exposed to food I’d never heard of. I’m always drawn to greek food. To me, it’s about the flavors and ingredients as much as it’s about memories.
Q: What food is consistently a hit in your house?
A: Usually things that involve frying chicken. They go crazy over any kind of sauce I make. Cream base, wine base, they have no idea, they always want a side of sauce. That’s what’s great about College Chefs, you’re not only getting a chicken, but a porter wine sauce to go with it. I love to make it and they love [to eat] it.