509-961-9899 kathy@lamaisonchef.com
By appointment only

Meet The Chefs

Chef Kathy

Chef in Residence

The proprietor of “La Maison”, Kathy is a self-taught cook that appreciates the need for a mentor in the kitchen. She teaches basic cooking classes with a “twist” to bring a hint of gourmet to the novice’s repertoire. She loves entertaining and makes the basic cook feel at ease preparing simple but elegant menus.

Brad Smith

Cellar Door Chef

Brad has been a certified Sommelier since 2008; trained with Master Sommelier Angelo Tavernaro. He has been cooking far longer with his first culinary job in 1977. He spent over 20 years in the fire service cooking with and for his crew. This led to cooking competitions and assisting with recipe development for cookbooks. Recently he has had the opportunity to be the in-house chef for several wineries for winemaker dinners and events. (Alexandria Nicole Cellars; Olsen Estates) He was recruited by Chef Roger Hazzard of Bon Vinos Bistro and Bakery to sous chef for him at 2010 Savor the Flavor “Fresh Chef” competition ~ they won. Learn more about Cellar Door Consultants.

Jill Stroh

The Pink Chef

Jillian or “Jill the pink chef” as she’s referred to at La Maison, graduated from Western Culinary Institute Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, Oregon with a culinary associates degree and received one of the top honors in her class. Jill did her internship with another La Maison chef’ Frank Magana of Picazo. She is a catering chef and is a co-owner of Cafe grande Vue in Grandview. Jillian loves cooking for anyone but herself and especially loves the interaction of teaching at La Maison.

Frank Magana

Executive Chef at Three Magnets

Executive Chef at Three Magnets in Olympia never ceases to amaze the group with his abundant array of wonderful gourmet. No one ever leaves hungry! Frank uses fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients to create masterpieces. Frank’s approachable presence and down-to-earth style of cooking with customers keeps his classes full. When he’s on the schedule you better sign up ~ reservations go fast!

Shawn Niles

Also known as The Fat Pastor, Sean is a pastor and entrepreneur in Yakima. He was recently featured as one of the top 40 home cooks in America on Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef. His culinary passion is introducing people to global comfort food. He is the founder and director of Urban Kitchen, a culinary and business school for students in Yakima. He is also the founder of Bite Club, an exclusive underground dining club. Shawn also pastors Dad’s House Church in Yakima. For more information you can check out his website www.thefatpastor.us, or www.dadshousechurch.org

Robin Levelthal

Robin formerly owned and operated Crave, a popular Seattle bistro serving up comfort food on Capitol Hill. Before becoming a chef, Robin was an artist. While pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Michigan, she took a job in the catering department. This was only intended to be a summer job, but it quickly became clear she had a passion for food. Robin’s Pacific Northwest roots are the foundation of her cooking, accented by the flavors of her world travels. In 2009 she had a life-changing experience to be a chef contestant on season 6 of Top Chef where she finished in 5th. Since then, she has found an ideal balance in life spending time in the studio making art, teaching, and cooking. She keeps her knives sharp in kitchens for causes like Bristol Bay, winemaker dinners, catering and restaurant consulting.

Tom Black

A native of Crown Point, Indiana, Tom began his culinary career at age 15, working at a family operated restaurant before serving four years in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Tom returned to Indiana to prepare for enrollment at the New England Culinary Institute where he earned an associates degree of applied science in Culinary Arts in 1995. Tom’s focus on regionally influenced, globally inspired cuisine and in 2001; the prestigious Zagat awarded him with Best Northwest Cuisine. In 2003, the Washington Wine Commission named the Barking Frog – Restaurant of the Year, their highest honor. Tom’s influence on Seattle has been strong, with articles on his creativity in Sante, Bon Appetit, Nation’s Restaurant News, WHERE – Seattle and Northwest Palate. He has served as Culinary Chair for Taste of the Nation – Share our Strength and participates in numerous events throughout the year in the community including Taste Washington, Taste Woodinville, Passport to Woodinville and Chef’s Night Out. In the spring of 2004, Tom was asked to cook at the James Beard House in NYC as part of a Winemaker / Chef Series Dinner. In the last few years, Tom has taken his talents to private estates, yachts, high-end photo shoots, cooking classes and wine maker dinners on both sides of the mountains and now La Maison.

James Martin

James has worked in the food industry most of his life. He has tried other professions but has always ended up where he’s happiest, in the kitchen. His career began after attending culinary school for pastry. He moved to Chicago in order to explore new trends and flavors and worked at the world-class Peninsula Hotel. There he was introduced to Asian pastries and was able to experience new flavor combinations and production methods. James then became the Pastry Chef at one of Chicago’s newest Mediterranean restaurants, Copperblue, where he and the restaurant received praise from multiple publications and a coveted 3-star rating. While at Copperblue he began to focus on Spanish pastry and cuisine, and using his French training, worked to combine the ingredients and techniques from both disciplines. James returned to Seattle to teach pastry at the Seattle Culinary Academy and currently partners with local wineries to provide pastries and chocolates for special events.

Jessica Smith

Chef Jessica Smith received her training at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. After working at the #1 spa in the world, Miraval Life in Balance, for 2 years as the Demonstration Chef, she opened her own restaurant in Cannon Beach OR, Café de la Mer. She was featured in Chocolatier Magazine, Best Places to Kiss, Quick Escapes in the Pacific Northwest, and received the honors of “Restaurant of the Year 1999” from the Daily Astorian and “Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator. In December of 2000 she returned to Miraval to become the Executive Pastry Chef. During the time there she helped create the cookbook Conscious Cuisine and not only developed recipes for it, but did food styling as well. When the Chef of the resort was featured on the Oprah show, Chef Smith was chosen by him to assist. She moved to Yakima in April of 2004 and for 4 years was the Chef/manager at Buhrmaster Baking Co. Since the close of the restaurant in 2009 Chef Smith has continued catering, taught Culinary Arts at Stanton Academy and will soon be working at the new restaurant; Provisions in Terrace Heights.

Jenny Simmons

Jenny’s five-year-old son became very ill and after months of searching for the cause and many doctor appointments to not much avail, she had seen a television program on Celiac Disease and how a gluten allergy (anything with wheat, barley, rye and oats) can cause many of the same symptoms her son was experiencing. She and the family started going gluten, dairy and soy free and saw results right away. After experimenting with recipes and lots of trial and error she made some bread that had her family asking for more. That demand increased from family to friends and hence, Jenny Mae’s Gluten Free Bakery was formed with a now large customer base. Jenny Mae’s is also an allergen-free shop, which serves the needs of vegans and people with allergies to milk, soy, eggs, nuts, in addition to gluten.