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Serving Others is Truly What Chef Curt Herrmann Does Best
Some people are born with silver spoons in their mouths. Tulsa Chef, Curt Herrmann immediately started cooking and feeding other people with his and hasn’t stopped since.
A Chicago native, he was the grandson of a famous Chicago butcher who took him under his wing at an early age and nurtured his passion for food. Since his mother was also a fantastic cook, he grew up having an appreciation for great flavors. While other kids were outside playing sports, Herrmann was more interested in what was cooking on the stove.
His passion for food eventually landed him at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where he further honed his skills and met fellow student, Marjorie Alexander, who would later become his business partner at Curt and Marj’s, a premiere Tulsa catering company that closed in 2005.
During his very impressive career thus far, he has been in Tulsa three times with stints elsewhere in between. Besides owning the catering company, he was the Chef de cuisine at Montrachet in the mid 90’s and the executive chef and manager of the White Owl on Cherry Street more recently before taking the position he has now.
He has worked and traveled extensively through both the U.S. and Europe, including stops in Seville (Sevilla), Spain and London, England. He has worked for such high profile names as Joanne Hearst and even worked for a year in London as the chef de partie under world renowned chef, Michel Roux Jr.
When I asked him where his favorite place has been so far, his answer surprised me. Though I thought that Spain might be his favorite, he said he has enjoyed every place he has been – every place has been special. “You always find something good wherever you are,” was his politically correct response. However, in his case, this is how he really feels.
He expounded a little more, “You get dumped in there; you don’t know anybody and everybody is speaking a different language. The trick to it is this,” he says, “just be good to people, that’s the biggest thing. Embrace what they’re doing, and their culture and their food. It’s respect, that’s all it is.”
His philosophy of food is similar. “Keep it simple, use the best ingredients you can find, be adaptable and cook the way you like to eat.”
When asked about his favorite ingredient to cook with and also to eat, his answer was foie gras and truffles.
He doesn’t really have a least favorite ingredient because he likes everything and has an appreciation for everything. However, he says the strangest thing he has ever eaten (and cooked) was a peasant style stew composed of the lung, heart, liver of sheep that he made for Joanne Hearst.
Through the years, Herrmann has gleaned wisdom from everyone he has encountered. One of the chefs he worked with in London was Marco Pierre White. Quoting him, he said, “Let Mother Nature make your menu.” Simply put, cook what’s in season.
Currently, Chef Herrmann teaches at The Culinary Institute of Platt College as the Garde Manger instructor. The term garde manger refers to cold foods including salads, appetizers, soups, sausages etc. He also runs the school’s restaurant, Foundations, in the evening. Usually very soft spoken and extremely patient, he has a real knack for teaching and coaxing the very best out of his students. One thing that he tells them is this: “Use the best quality of whatever you have.”
Quoting White again, he concludes, “At the end of the day, it’s just food, isn’t it?”
Oh, it is, but with Chef Herrmann at the helm, you can be assured that whatever is on the menu will always be incredibly delicious.
Tulsa and Platt College are fortunate. to have such a fantastic resource in Chef Curt Herrmann – an all-around nice guy and a top-notch chef and teacher.
Jill Meredith – Author – www.adashofjill.com
I just love food! I love everything about it! I adore the satisfaction I get from preparing a wonderful meal for those I love. I love the way all of those fabulous aromas waft through the whole house and beckon all to come to the kitchen to see what’s cooking.
Cooking is an act of love. It is an intimate way to share part of yourself with someone else. A good meal can tear down walls and mend relationships better than years of therapy! I truly believe this.
I am a foodie and freelance writer who lives in Broken Arrow, OK with my hubby, our daughter and some furry family members. I love spending time in the kitchen developing recipes and scouring cookbooks for new inspiration.
Formerly a preschool teacher and part-time food writer, I have recently jumped into the writing as my career of choice.
I love sharing my knowledge of food and cooking. Besides writing food related articles for Tulsafood.com, Oklahoma Magazine and Examiner.com, I have also been known to teach a cooking class or two for kids of all ages – from the very young to the young at heart.
If you have cooking questions or want a particular recipe, please email me at email@example.com. Now wash your hands, put on apron and let’s get in the kitchen!