Feature Profile Assignment: Jour3010
Walking into the Davidson household almost guarantees the visitor a trip to any given
country by way of the aromas floating from the kitchen, as this is a household of culinary craftsmen driven by diverse backgrounds and creative minds at work.
Dede Davidson, the youngest of her family of four, is typically found there busily creating mouthwatering dishes for no reason other than to express her passion for the art of cooking.
Dede grew up with a father who is part Black and Native American and a mother who is Chinese. Dede has been influenced by a multitude of cultures and cuisines that encompass her wide set of skills and know-how.
The passion for cooking started at an early age.
“I’ve just always cooked.” She chops chocolate for salted caramel brownie sandwich cookies. “It’s just something we’ve always done in my family.”
It wasn’t until recently that Dede decided to take her profound love of food and turn it into a career, when she switched majors and began paving a path towards becoming a chef.
“My freshman year I was a film major.” She pops the cookies into the oven. “I liked it, but I just thought it wasn’t for me, so I started the hospitality program.”
At this time the warm smell of chocolate begins to fill the room as the brownie cookies bake.
“Now for the mac and cheese.”
Dede graduates this spring with a hospitality degree and will be traveling to Europe for a two week study abroad program. She will explore the world-renowned cuisine overseas, finding inspiration for her future endeavors, before returning stateside and heading to the west coast to continue in her career advancement. Dede plans to attend the CIA, the Culinary Institute
of America, and take an accelerated culinary arts course that will complement her hospitality degree.
A heaping plate of shredded cheese is pulled from the refrigerator and set on the counter. She looks at it for a moment before smugly glancing up.
“I like cheese. A lot.”
The shreds are melted into a sauce that will be mixed with macaroni, creating the ultimate indulgence in comfort food.
“There is no such thing as too much cheese!”
It is hard to beat melted cheese and warm chocolate, unless of course you add a drink or two.
“DRANKS.” Dede excitedly whips up a refreshing cocktail to go along with the wave of rich, decadent food to soon come forth.
“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?”
The brownie cookies finish baking and are removed from the oven to cool. Dede scrutinizes the cookies, assuring they meet her impeccable standards. “Too thin, we’ll have to try something else.”
The goal of one day becoming a professional chef is not a far cry from the past few years of her utilizing her knowledge and skills as more than simply a hobby. During her term in student housing, Dede would often cook for her roommates, her neighbors, and anyone that needed a meal beyond the standard bowl of Ramen noodles. More often than not she received compensation for her time and effort and quickly became a sort of go-to for those lacking
the time or ability to prepare fulfilling, quality dishes.
After moving back home, Dede continued cooking on the side to help make extra money and further practice new skills and recipes. As a sort of self-taught cook, Dede learned by experimenting with trial and error methods to expand her repertoire of skill set and recipes. It takes years of experience and training to master the art of combining flavors and cooking
techniques to create complex and original edible experiences.
One taste of the finished macaroni and cheese and it is hard to disagree that Dede is already
well on her way in the culinary world. Dede samples her cheesy dish and closes her eyes as she chews slowly.
“I’m sorry. I’m having a moment.”
The second batch and second attempt at the brownie cookies is pulled from the oven. Instead of baking flat on a sheet Dede used muffin top molds to hopefully create a more rounded shape that would work for sandwich cookies. She looks disappointed. “They aren’t puffing up.” The cookies look more like little cups.
“One more try.”
While the newly finished “cups” cool, Dede retrieves a real muffin tin, hoping that this time perfect cookie ends are made. The last of the batter is scooped into the molds and the sheet is popped into the oven.
We sit and relax while sipping our drinks, still shrouded in the smells of homemade comfort cooking at its finest. Dede continues to share her future goals.
“I’d like to one day open my own restaurant, nothing too big but a manageable size and atmosphere.” She shares her dreams and aspirations, her want of doing what she loves for a living.
“I think a fusion restaurant would be ideal. I’d be able to do more with that.”
The last round of brownie cookies finishes baking. “Let’s hope this works!” This time the cookies neither fall flat nor create little bowls. She clearly displays excitement as she works to remove each cookie. A large bowl of scratch-made salted caramel buttercream frosting sits waiting to become the rich, sweet filling for the brownie sandwich cookies.
One could probably be satisfied with the frosting on its own. She samples the combination
and a familiar grin covers her face.
“I’m having another moment.”