About the Chef
A Native Northwest Palate
Jackie Davison was born in Seattle, WA. She grew up in a suburb just north of Seattle, living in a modest home surrounded by fir trees just blocks from a saltwater beach. Her awareness of where good food came from began in the summers of her childhood. A large bowl was often placed in her arms and she was sent out to the garden to hand pick fresh vegetables like radishes, green beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, squashes and lettuces. Then there were the berries. That involved trips to Duvall and other places to pick never-ending flats of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. (She never had store-bought jam until she was an adult.) She also spent a lot of time on Whidbey Island, especially at her grandmother’s quaint beach cabin on Penn Cove. Family would rake smelt, dig clams, and occasionally fish for salmon.
Jackie’s first tastes of foreign flavors came as an exchange student to Veracruz, Mexico. She enjoyed the daily rice, beans, and plantains, as well as the fresh seafood and chicken that had been running around hours before it was on the plate. She then spent a month in Denmark living on a pig farm where the food was bland compared to Mexico, but wholesome and satisfying nonetheless. Later, while attending the University of Washington, she discovered Thai, Filipino, Japanese, and Chinese fare. After college, she started taking cooking classes around Seattle and eventually started a Dinner Club. This was the beginning of studying other cuisines on her own like French, Italian, Creole, and Mediterranean. Her extensive marketing career led to travels around the U.S. and abroad, which further ignited her palate. Her mouth still waters from the memories of pasta in Italy, seafood in New Zealand, and desserts in France.
In 2009 the U.S. economy was deep in recession and Jackie was “corporate downsized.” She took the opportunity to make a mid-life career change and attend culinary school at Skagit Valley College. She enjoyed this vocational program so much that she achieved perfect attendance and received her AA in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management in 2011 with Summa Cum Laude honors. After brief stints with the Island Hospital and the Swinomish Tribal Community, she realized that she enjoyed the fast pace of restaurant work, but felt she wasn’t making the most of her education. She discovered that her true passion was to share the “tricks of the trade” with home cooks of all ages. A natural teacher, she started by giving a few cooking classes in her own home. This solidified her passion, but felt limited, so she searched around Anacortes for a more appropriate space. She eventually found one in September 2012 and started remodeling to create a warm, friendly, and well-equipped kitchen classroom. In February 2013, Potluck Kitchen Studio opened its doors.
A Lifelong Student
Since Jackie didn’t grow up in a commercial kitchen, she took the academic route and became a Certified Culinarian with the American Culinary Federation. To maintain her status, she takes continuing education classes, such as Food and Wine Pairing for Chefs at the CIA in Napa Valley. She also found out what they don’t teach you in culinary school, so in her spare time she reads up on food history/issues, nutrition, evolutionary biology, chef memoirs, preservation, and food science. She considers herself to be a bona fide food nerd – an “Alton Brown” of Anacortes. She’s occasionally featured in the Skagit Valley Herald, and teaches for the Anacortes School District, the Anacortes Senior Center, and Island Hospital. She also enjoys taking recreational cooking classes around the Northwest and the globe. She’s taken classes in Tuscany, Thailand, Canada and most recently in Ireland in September of 2015. She’s looking forward to taking cooking classes in New Orleans in May 2016. She also enjoys learning from other cooks, artisan food producers, cookbook authors and others!
Recent Reads – Books Jackie has read since creating Potluck Kitchen Studio
- Bourdain, Anthony. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. Print.
- Brennan, Georgeanne. A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France. Harvest Books, 2008. Print.
- Flinn, Kathleen. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks. New York: Viking, 2011. Print.
- Flinn, Kathleen. The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry: Love, Laughter and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School. New York: Penguin, 2007. Print.
- Guiliano, Mireille. French Women Don’t Get Fat: Secrets for Enjoying Food, Having Fun, and Being Thin. Alfred Knopf, 2005. Print.
- Hamilton, Gabrielle. Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2012. Print.
- Kingsolver, Barbara with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007. Print.
- Lieberman, Daniel. The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease. Pantheon, 2013. Print.
- Petrini, Carlo. Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, and Fair. Rizzoli, 2007. Print.
- Pollan, Michael. Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. New York: Penguin, 2013. Print.
- Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.
- Reichl, Ruth. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2010. Print.
- Robinson, Jo. Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2013. Print.
- Ruhlman, Michael. The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection. New York: Penguin, 2001. Print.
- Wilson, Bee. Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat. Basic Books, 2012. Print.