As part of our At The Table culinary programming in the Atrium Kitchen, Chef Traci Post (Seductive Specialty Foods and Succulent Catering) leads a series of hour-long culinary workshops focused on fall and holiday entertainment. We spoke to Chef Traci to learn more about why she loves sharing her passion for cooking and entertaining.
How did you get into the cooking profession?
I grew up watching both of my parents cook—mom on the weekdays and dad on the weekends usually—so it's in my blood. In 1998, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. I left my career in public relations and started caring for her. During our days together I would help her make dinner. As the disease progressed she was no longer able to recall her recipes or follow a written recipe. It was then I started cooking my parents meals and stocking their fridge. It was the gateway to becoming a personal chef, which eventually lead to catering. In 2011, a few months after my mom passed away, I took an inspiring trip to Italy and returned to Seattle with an idea for a line of gourmet sauces, syrups and jams. Teaching others to cook and entertain came about naturally. My roots and passion for cooking run deep and I enjoy sharing that with others. I love what I do!
What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
My favorite dishes to prepare are my parents recipes. My mom's enchilada recipe with her homemade sauce is my all-time favorite comfort food. Growing up, my family's home was the gathering place, and every year we would have all of the family over to make tamales filled with my dad's stewed pork and handmade masa.
What do you love most about teaching in the kitchen?
Sharing a meal with someone is one of the simplest, truest pleasures a person can have. I love teaching others how to create these opportunities to connect with others. I love bolstering my students' kitchen swagger. Cooking can be intimidating to those who haven't been exposed to it, who lack the confidence that comes from trial, error and eventually success. I'm there to tell my students "you got this." I believe if you can read, you can cook anything. If you want to be a chef, you need to hone your intuition.
What’s the most important piece of advice you give your students?
Most important piece of advice for my students: If you're ever feeling blue, or having what you consider to be a bad day, make something in your kitchen—cookies, a loaf of bread, try a new recipe, or arrange some pretty fruit and veggies on a plate and go share it with someone. Food is our common connection. Food is life. Sharing food... well that is love, and love liberates.
What do guests have to look forward to in your fall/winter classes?
Our fall cooking classes are really about creating a dining experience with those you love with delicious (yet easy to prepare) meals, from appetizers to dessert. A meal that can be prepared ahead of time is essential to enjoying your guests. The classes in early December are going to teach students how to make their own gourmet gifts with specialty items that will inspire a meal or gathering.
Wednesday, November 2, 6-7 pm
Fall Entertaining Made Easy with Traci Post
Saturday, December 3, 11 am-2 pm
Gourmet Gifts for the Pantry with Traci Post
Saturday, December 10, 11 am-2 pm
Holiday Cookie Class with Traci Post
Saturday, December 17, 11 am-2 pm
Holiday Candy and Confections with Traci Post