Chef Jeff Parke
Jeff’s passion for food began the moment he was
introduced to the world of cooking.
As a teen, working his first job as a busboy at Famous
Pacific Fish Company in Tempe, AZ, Jeff was asked to
fill in for a sauté cook one evening and immediately
found his calling.
With months and years rolling past and with time and
talented mentors teaching Jeff, he learned the intricacies
of cooking, including seafood preparation, practical
line cooking skills, efficient prep procedures and even
more about sauces.
He studied under Chef George Pastor at Hillsborough
Community College, in Tampa, learning about Escoffier’s*
formal kitchen and the science of food preparation.
Jeff came into his own at Oystercatchers, Hyatt Regency
Westshore in Tampa, as Sous Chef. While there, Oystercatchers
won the 1996 Zaggat “Best Seafood House in America”
award. Jeff also assisted with production of an episode
of “Great Chefs of the South” series and
gained the respect of quite a few very talented chefs,
including Chef Hans Hickel. “This is the one place
that I gathered the most knowledge of cooking. It finally
started to click,” says Jeff.
As Chef D’ Cuisine at Old Memorial Golf Club
– under Chef Todd Bush – Jeff “learned
to have fun [and become more creative] with food at
this millionaires’ playground.”
The Parke’s moved from Florida to North Carolina
in 2000. There, Jeff had his first real exposure to
Southern Cooking with his position as Executive Chef
at Atlantic Beer and Ice in uptown Charlotte.
During the course of the next few years, Jeff moved
on to Microsoft / IBM as Chef D’Partie and Pastry
Chef under Chef Ed Adams and then Hilton Hotel as Banquet
Chef, where he honed skills to cook in huge quantities.
Jeff expresses enjoyment at “getting back into
a ‘formal’ hotel kitchen.”
In faith, Jeff stepped out into the entrepreneurial
realm – opening Chef Jeff & Co. – in
2003. The foundation of his company is a culmination
of all the skills he learned throughout his career.
Jeff began his company as a personal chef service –
where, for five years he researched, combined, tested
and perfected the marriage of variations of two cooking
methods: Once-a-Month-Cooking (OAMC) and Sous Vide (cooking
in a vacuum).
The purpose of this research was to prepare seasonal,
healthy foods that can be frozen and reheated in a way
that naturally preserves nutrition and flavor.
In early 2008, Jeff and his wife, Bobbi, opened Chef
Jeff & Co.’s first storefront where they were
able to sell their individually-portioned meals at a
lower price point, allowing most everyone in the community
the opportunity to purchase wholesome meals –
which include no preservatives and are low in salts,
fats and sugars – take them home, heat them easily
and eat within 10-15 minutes.
Besides opening more stores, Jeff’s current calling
is to share his knowledge with others as a culinary
*Based on Wikipedia
Georges Auguste Escoffier (28 October 1846–12
February 1935) was a French chef, restaurateur and culinary
writer who popularized and updated traditional French
cooking methods. simplifying and modernizing previous
chefs’ elaborate and ornate styles.
Another of Escoffier's contributions to cooking was
to elevate it to the status of a respected profession,
introducing organized discipline to his kitchens. He
organized his kitchens by the brigade de cuisine system,
with each section run by a chef de partie.