I was one of the tour chefs for GD during the years 87-95. I worked with Jimi Voss and Karen Candido on the east coast. After Jerry died, I worked for a few other bands until I decided to change careers for a while. I went back to school to get a computer science degree but was hired out of college before finishing. I have worked in the advertising/tech industry for approximately 15 years. I continued to cook for cherry-picked jobs. In the last couple of years, I have shifted back to the food industry, working on private, retail, and music festival-focused activities.
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GD Dinner Series
Former chefs for the Grateful Dead Clell Hoffman and Gene Keenan, along with the “Velvet Crowbar” John Atkinson, will regale you with food, life, and times of feeding the Grateful Dead. Missing this time will be east coast chefs Jimi Voss and Karen Candido. Not to mention the essential stage and dressing room craft services connections of John Markward and Dave Miller.
This first dinner will be a Mexican-influenced fish-centric 5-course meal. The menu will be based on what is fresh and available in this late spring market but expect the following delightful ingredients:
Shellfish or fish-based starter (based on market)
Seafood based second course combined with complementary vegetables from Tupelo Gardens
Wild Alaskan King or Wild Alaskan Halibut (based on market)
The Grateful Dead-like everything they did (accidentally) represented the founders of this great country ideal (in the best possible way) the true meaning of the “pursuit of happiness.” Hint: It doesn’t mean what you think it means. Let us bring back to life the pursuit of happiness of life by allowing you to serve us by serving you with our humble experiences of cooking for a seminal group of people.
After Dead 50, the original catering crew for the Grateful Dead (Jimi Voss, Karen Candido, John Markward, Dave Miller, William Roth) decided to get together annually for a gig. John Markward, who owns Markward catering, suggested we meet at the Peach Festival. It was the second year of this now annual event that was started by the Allman Brothers band
I am a 50% partner in the Redwood Music Festival in Mendocino County every year on the Navarro River. It is mostly an invite-only affair that is family-focused. Close to 50% of attendees are kids with their parents. Attendance is capped at approximately 50%.
Every year I cook what is known as the Friday Night Dinner. A meal I create for 500 people with the help of staff. I have been doing this since one of the chefs that worked for me (Chez Ray) first invited me almost 25 years ago. Ray passed recently, but his booth keeps trucking on.
I started a catering and event company with some ace folks who have senior experience in planning, designing, and cooking. We do this as a side hustle and only pick gigs that we want to do. We deliver a superior experience for our clients because they always get the most senior experienced people working on their vision.
The East Bay where I live has many food deserts. I have developed small salad-type gardens with virtually no expense using up-cycled materials (e.g., fish coffins – Styrofoam boxes that are 36 inches long by 10 inches deep) and free community soil developed from city compost. Over 20 people in our neighborhood have adopted this methodology. Even ones living in apartments or condos have used them to inspiring success. Something as simple as creating a small herb garden using one Styrofoam box can elevate the most mundane meal into something special. Read more at Tupelo Gardens.
Corn tortillas in America suck; no, they really suck. Most Americans have never had a real corn tortilla. Most of us have most certainly have had one of two things: Corn tortillas made from Masa Harina (cornflower – Maseca being the primary brand) or tortillas made from commercial flavorless GMO corn. Maseca has the oil stripped out of it to make the flower shelf-stable for long periods of time. In addition, the commodity GMO corn is used by Maseca. The result is a cardboard-like disk devoid of any sweet corn flavor. Some of us may have been lucky to have tortillas made using the Nixtamal process (soaking/cooking the corn in mineral lime and then ground fresh), but typically, those tortillas are made in massive tortilla ovens cranking out 100k tortillas an hour. The tortilla deserves to be re-elevated to its rightful place alongside the perfect baguette or croissant. A well-made tortilla has a delicate texture on one side and a more sturdy side. The filling goes into the delicate side. The sheer, thin layer almost dissolving and becoming one with the filling.
To this end I am working on a project to bring tortillas to a single community (to start). We are working with Masienda to use corn that is raised by small farmers in Mexico
Cooking for disaster relief. During the Sonoma/Napa fire, we went from serving 300 meals a day to 6,000 in just 3 days. We also went from taking donations just from individuals to getting tractor-trailer-sized donations from companies like Del Monte. It was just a matter of knocking on doors and making calls. After a week, Guy Fieri and his BBQ Posse showed up.