A Mother’s Bragging Rights–So Sue Me

So my daughter, Tricia, is a chef—Chef Tricia. She got her first degree in psychology from Brigham Young University a few years ago. Then, she decided that she wanted to become a chef so she went to culinary school, graduating a few months ago with top honors.
This is a good place to insert that I could never get Tricia in the kitchen when she was growing up. She says it was my fault because the only thing I would ever let her do was to peel potatoes. I say, its called vegetable prep and you have to stick around after the potatoes are peeled in order to get to do more with them or any of the foods in the kitchen.But now Tricia knows all about sticking around to do things after the peelings come off. (PS—Tricia hates potatoes.)  She is a part of a great team of chefs working on a huge culinary adventure called the Mist Project.

Mist will be in Salt Lake for one month starting in January and will provide a 14 course Michelin class dining experience. Read all about Mist at the link provided above.The following article has been lifted from Salt Lake Magazine’s blog. I’m guessing that I will get in trouble for doing this. I’m guessing that maybe since I am the mom behind one of the chefs that maybe I won’t get in as much trouble, especially since I write a rather mediocre, generally unknown and under the radar food blog. But, I just wanted to do my part to help ‘put the word out there’ about Mist…and Tricia. Please note, comments below three of the pictures are my own motherly comments.

The mountain of work behind Mist:Salt Lake
by Mary Brown Malouf

Tricia is the one in the middle front with her hair pulled back and her bangs swept over to the side.


All the hype is about the chef–-creative tyrants who singlehandedly dream up and then harasses a hot kitchen-full of helpers into assisting him whip up amazing dishes before your very eyes with such charismatic flair that they become full-blown Hollywood stars with personality cults and cookbooks all their own.

French legend and the Food Channel has made it so.

But of course it’s a big lie.

The chef is the chief, yes, but a restaurant kitchen is totally an ensemble effort.

A really great chef gathers a team of talented people, encourages their individual creativity, earns their respect and loyalty and depends on their reliability and judgment to produce excellent food night after night. After night.

This can take years to reach its potential pinnacle of excellence.

But Chef Gavin Baker’s Mist: Salt Lake project requires him to build such a team in a matter of weeks and months.

How is he doing it? Jump with me and see:
Having looked through the portfolio of Tricia Layton, a student in her final semester at the Art Institute of Salt Lake City, Chef Gavin was impressed with the level of cookery being taught at the school. Once Tricia heard about the project, she started spreading the word among the top students and before long Gavin had selected several young chefs from the top ranks of the Art Institute of Salt Lake City’s culinary school.

To find a pastry chef, he placed an irresistible ad on craigslist–“ looking for an extremely talented pastry chef willing to work for very little pay to make the most amazing pastries Salt Lake City has ever seen.”
A crazy bold move, right?

He was flooded with applicants.

In end, choosing passion over skill as the most essential requirement, here’s the team he ended up with:
Katie Weinner – head development chef
Tricia Layton – entremetier
Jennifer Krysten – garde manger
Mike Burtis – saucier
Ryan Murray – poissonier, rotisseur
Colin McSherry – sous chef
Rebecca Millican – head pastry chef/chocolate expert
Andy Manchester – pastry sous chef/sugar expert

Of course, these are all people with day jobs, so chef training and menu development at Mist: Salt Lake is as unconventional as the rest of the project.

Especially considering that the guerrilla restaurant doesn’t physically exist yet–the test kitchen and resource library ( his collection of cookbooks) is in Gavin’s house.

The chefs volunteer as much free time as they possibly can and work with Chef Gavin in the evenings and on weekends. Mist:SaltLake’s saucier, Mike Burtis, spends 8 to10 hours a day each Saturday and Sunday training with Chef Gavin in the test kitchen. Others work from home and connect via Chef Gavin’s “Chef’s Forum” on Facebook (this is a private group that was created as a venue for Mist’s team to connect through, share information and images).

Tricia is the one with her arms crossed, biting her lower lip.

Each weekend the Mist:SaltLake chefs gather at the test kitchen to test recipes, do tastings and train together. From those tastings, adjustments are made and the chefs then return to the test kitchen to continue the process.

Each dish takes approximately 6-8 tastings and weeks of refinement before being “signed off” on by Chef Gavin. Then its prep must be practiced to ensure consistency.

Multiply this process times 15–the number of courses to be served at Mist:Salt Lake–and you get an idea of the mountain behind the mist.


Hmm…here she is peeling something—not a potato. I’m so glad she got her peeling skills in my kitchen, first. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is my only claim to fame; Chef Tricia of Mist got her start in my kitchen learning to peel the lowly potato.



  1. says

    First off, I DON’T hate potatoes! French fries are my all time favorite food EVER, followed closely by potato chips. I really like funeral potatoes too. I’m just not a huge fan of mashed and baked potatoes. I feel a potato place is better served in the fried genre or as funeral potatoes…or has browns…or tater tots…mmmmmm… And secondly, thanks for brag. I love you.

  2. says

    Well. I’m glad that we got that cleared up. Now that you mention it, I do recall that you are quite a french fry fan. So, ladies and gentlemen, you saw it here first–Tricia DOES like potatoes in some formats. And Tricia, I love you, too.

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