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Sunday, March 4, 2012
Lynn and Chelsea consult with an accomplished chef as they ban trans fats from their restaurants, bakeries
A French-trained chef, Emmons began her professional career at fine-dining establishments and high-end bakeries in New York and Boston. She inherited her passion for quality food from her father - a man with a discerning palate - and her mother, whose mission it was to please her family’s tastes with the best food available.
“I think we paid a lot of attention to food, both my parents did,’’ Emmons said. “When I was in sixth or seventh grade, I took a home economics class and they taught me to make applesauce, and I went home and made it and thought, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe nobody goes home and does this. It’s so much better than Mott’s.’ I remember it smelled so great.’’
By 14, Emmons and a friend had started their own catering service, and were hired for more than a dozen parties. At 16, she started a job at a “very fancy’’ cheese shop, where she worked for the next four years and learned much more about quality food. She went on to attend New York University, where she majored in food service management, and by 27 she was an apprentice for a chef in France.
“I think for me it was kind of inevitable,’’ Emmons said. “I felt a sense of love for food. I didn’t quite have that passion for anything else.’’
She returned to New York, where she worked as a pastry chef, and then moved to Boston, where she worked at a high-end South End bistro. Over the next 15 years, Emmons became the founding chef of four restaurants, including Haley House and Veggie Planet in Harvard Square. She has also written three books, including the recently published “Wild Flavors.’’
It was at Haley House where Emmons said she got a new education - working with low-income residents who have little access to better-quality food. It is also why she said she enjoys the consulting jobs in Chelsea and Lynn.
“These cities that have low-income populations, people have no idea what they’re eating, and it’s a total public service to them,’’ she said. “I love working with kids, but I had no idea that there was just one more thing, one more strike against them in this world. I had to become an activist about it; become very vigilant in teaching the kids that it’s not just about having fun cooking food, but knowing what whole foods are, and eating whole foods.’’
Katheleen Conti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.
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