Chef Jacob Burton is a scientifically-minded chef who has been the force and chief educator of Stella Culinary for a few years. His straightforward training videos and understandable explanations set him apart from educational material online.

I started following him in 2012 and joined the Stella Culinary forum only a few months ago. I stumbled across his website when I was looking for commercializable brine recipes for proteins for the Sugar Mountain Guest Services group. It was the start of my chef-crush.

Well, over time, the website, blog, vlog, forum, and instructional videos have grown in their sophistication and complexity. Chef Jacob and his chefs hosted podcasts talking about being chefs, writing menus, hosting dinners, and developing techniques.

I reached out to him a few months ago – at the height of the busy season (nice one, Kimberly) – to connect and chat. Eventually, the stars and our calendars aligned, and we had a chance to do an introductory phone call and then record an interview together.

At first I was a bit intimidated. I’ve been reading and using Chef Jacob’s training material for a few years and perceive him as a teacher and a chef I admire and reference as someone who shaped my understanding and application of scientific knowledge to professional and home cooking.

To speak with him IRL was so exciting – and so much easier than I thought. He engages, asks thoughtful questions, and responds to the conversation rather than working through a series of questions. Some podcasts do a great job at asking the same questions of guests, showing how thought processes and success have patterns across industries and successful individuals, but it hasn’t worked for my podcast recordings so far.

I wasn’t sure how our conversation would flow – several of the Stella Culinary podcasts are spontaneous or topic-driven, built on years of relationship Chef has with his chefs. We don’t have that history, and it doesn’t seem like my life would be a very interesting topic. Fortunately, I am a chatterbox (see video at the end).

Over an hour-and-a-half of conversation later, and I feel like we only just starting to touch topics. WOW. We talked about the steps I have taken to get into the professional food world and then to the food product development world. We focused on my time at MC in the beginning, something I haven’t covered in this blog. It was fun to discuss it with a chef who uses some of the techniques when it’s appropriate for his dishes. The conversation transitioned a bit to other topics, too, and all in all, our podcast recording felt like a normal conversation with other chefs I’ve known.

Thanks, Chef Jacob, for having me on your podcast! I’m looking forward to recounting the Hong Kong trip and more topics in future podcasts! When it goes live, I’ll share the link on the blog!