Janice W. Thomas, Chef and Owner
Savory Spoon Cooking School, Ellison Bay
Where do you live?
What attracted you to the culinary profession?
I have always loved food and the techniques to prepare meals and dishes. Once I realized that I was a natural teacher, I decided to share my knowledge.
How do you integrate and balance skills needed as a chef and as an educator?
The balance in life is doing what you love to do and making time to do that. I do a lot of research and development and that is fascinating and fuels my culinary fire to continue to teach. When students light up with a smile on their face when they have accomplished a task they have not done before, it makes it all worth it.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Morning walk past my bee hives and through a meadow near my farm. Great coffee, chat with friends. Grocery shop and visit my farmers for supplies, prep for class, take a break, and teach the class. I love to walk and it is a time when I process the school and its mission.
How do you make classes at Savory Spoon Cooking School unique?
The School is unique because all of our classes are hands-on. Students get to create instead of watching someone else do the cooking. We call it culinary experiential. The School is in an old school house built in 1869 so it is very unique as well. We bring in outstanding chefs and farmers from near and far to share their expertise with the students. We also create a handcrafted product on site called Panforte , which is sold also in 90 gourmet groceries around the country.
What advice do you have to others thinking about becoming a chef?
If you want to be a chef, remember that fame is not what you are in it for. The financial rewards are not high, but the personal rewards can be very worth it if you follow your heart and your dream.
Why is Ellison Bay a good place to visit?
It has true artisans who are following their passion. The artisans have great stories to tell.
When you're not working, what do you like to do in Door County?
I love to hike, swim and cook and create over and over again. I love to share great food with good friends. Nothing better than that!
Anything else to add?
People come to Door County for a great experience, and we feel that memories are the best gifts of all, even if you give it to yourself. The reward of a cooking class is a wonderful and delicious memory, often shared with family and friends.