Chef Denene Vincent
Chef Denene Vincent is the founder & executive chef of Le Chat Gourmet and host of Great Lakes Kitchen TV Show.
For over 25 years Chef Vincent has been cooking professionally and traveling the world refining her culinary skills while visiting Tuscany Italy to Provence France thus instilling an appreciation and understanding of regional ingredients and cooking techniques.
Chef Vincent also holds master gardener and art degrees, which merge defining her cooking style – using locally grown, seasonal ingredients to create dishes with flavor, texture and color combinations to the artistic flare of the final plate presentation.
Proud of her Michigan roots growing up on a farm, Vincent is a true farm to table chef, understanding good food begins with quality ingredients.
Question & Answer ‘Get-To-Know’ Chef Vincent
Chef you were most influenced by?
Julia Child – hands-down. Her story has been an inspiration and pivotal in where I am today.
What is your favorite quote?
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf
When did you start cooking?
I started cooking very early with my mom who is a fabulous country cook. I think my culinary path was destined from my first spoken words, “Mmm Mmm good” – I’ve always loved food.
What was your favorite meal growing up?
Country ham, mashed potatoes with ham gravy and sweet corn – all ingredients raised and grown on our farm.
What’s your go-to dish when cooking at home?
Oven Roast Chicken and Vegetables – crispy skin, succulent and juicy whole chicken is my Sunday go-to dish. The veggies vary on the season – spring asparagus, summer’s bounty from my culinary gardens, autumn and winter root veg – squash, potatoes, yams, beets.
I love to read, my nightstand is piled with over a dozen cookbooks / chef biographies / food & travel related books at any given time. Favorite author – Michael Ruhlman. Favorite book – Vie de France by James Haller based on the fact I’ve re-read it so many times.
If we looked in your personal refrigerator what would we find?
Lots of seasonal fruit and vegetables, artisan cheeses, Fever-Tree Ginger Beer or Elderflower Tonic and Champagne – I always keep a bottle chilling.
That changes with the seasons – winter Hot Chocolate with French Cocoa, spring and summer Aperol Spritz with Cara Cara Orange or Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Gin & Tonic, Champagne anytime and there’s nothing like drinking well water from the garden hose on a hot summer day!
Your ‘top 5’ Wusthof knives?
8″ Cooks, Tomato, 3 1/2″ Paring, 7″ Santoku and Boning.
Your ‘top 5’ must have kitchen tools?
Tongs, Silicone Spoonula, Bowl Scrapper, French Whisk and Cork Screw!
Your ‘top 5’ must have cookware?
10” Wagner Cast Iron Skillet, 7 Qt. Staub Dutch Oven, Cameron’s Stovetop Smoker, All-Clad Copper-Core Saucepan and All-Clad 6 Qt. All-In-One Pan (my new favorite!).
Your ‘top 3’ Kitchen Electronics?
Tiger Rice Cooker; KitchenAid Professional 6 Qt. Mixer; Bose Docking Speaker (gotta have my tunes!).
Your Favorite Chef?
There are two, Tyler Florence & Jamie Oliver, I love their cooking styles but more so their community involvement, giving back & making a difference!
Favorite Food Photographer?
David Loftus, his images are breathtakingly beautiful.
Something most people don’t know about you?
Mega Elton John fan! On many levels – I began listening to his music in the 70’s and buying all his recordings to having so much respect and admiration for his tireless philanthropic work – amazing man.
Last question, define ‘good cooking’?
Quality seasonal ingredients – preferably locally grown are key to good cooking. Along with sharp knives, basic kitchen skills, a repertoire of proven recipes and a table surrounded with friends & family to share it with!