It's ALL ABOUT ME (Not!!!)

It seems that lately a lot of our audience has been wanting to get to know me (Bobbi Shepherd) better – where I’m from, and how I got to be Chef and Creative Director at MorningStar Kitchen. So, my staff has finally convinced me that it’s time for me to tell a little of my story.

For me – for all of us here at MorningStar Kitchen – our story isn’t about ourselves at all. It’s about the crops we grow, the recipes we develop in our Test Kitchen, and the proprietary seasonings we’ve developed and sell to help coax the flavors out of the farm-fresh products available to all of us today!

I suppose my story is not much different from a lot of Chefs. While I have received a fair amount of professional training, the heart and soul of my culinary passion and experience came from spending years – decades, really – at the feet of my grandmother and mother, watching and learning from them in their own kitchens.

Both women were amazing cooks. I suppose for my grandmother it was a matter of necessity. But for my mother, it was a matter of passion. She spent untold hours reading the culinary journals of her day and studying recipes from great chefs around the world. It wasn’t unusual to wake up in the middle of the night and find her pouring over cookbooks, planning her next culinary ‘coups.’ A generous and gifted woman, she graciously shared with the guests at her table, whether she knew them well, or barely knew them at all. And her culinary reputation – her reputation as a Home Chef – was known far and wide.

My mother encouraged me to cook right alongside her. She would buy whatever I needed, and instruct me when asked; otherwise, she ‘turned me loose’ in the kitchen and let me create whatever I wanted. With that encouragement, it wasn’t long before I began to share her excitement.

I guess I took up my mother’s mantle. Like her, I devoted myself to cooking and serving guests at my own table. Professionally I worked as a designer. But it seemed that I often spent more time in the kitchen than I did in the studio – and I enjoyed it more! In time, people began asking me for my recipes - some even asked me to teach them to cook.

Some years ago, after venturing into the world of Farmers Markets throughout the country, I threw myself into developing a Farm-To-Table lifestyle. It takes time to change both your mindset and your kitchen to accommodate that style. But I was more excited about it as I had ever been about any of my cooking. In due time, I wasn’t only hooked. I was there!

It was then that I connected with the crew at MorningStar Farm in Northern Michigan. It seemed that my own personal story and passion was not much different from theirs. So, it seemed logical to combine my vision and experience with their mission and unique training at places like The New School in New York City, Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, and the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. From the beginning, MorningStar was committed to helping Home Chefs build a Farm-to-Table lifestyle. With the harvest from their massive gardens as their inspiration, the founders created MorningStar Kitchen. Its mission was to develop a line of proprietary seasonings and other products that would promote, support, and enhance the lifestyle.

Drawing from both the tradition of past generations and the Farm-to-Table lifestyle, MorningStar Kitchen has developed a wholly new approach to cooking. We call it Farmhouse Fusion. Farmhouse Fusion balances generational traditions with today’s urban lifestyle; and blends both together with the family farm, Farmers Market and local specialty market. To all of this, we add our own proprietary seasonings that enable Home Chefs to coax the most satisfying flavors out of the fresh products they use – whether that means garden-fresh fruits and vegetables; farm-fresh meats, poultry, and dairy; or freshly-caught seafood and game. Whatever it may be, we have seasonings to complement them all.

I am particularly proud of the products we have created at MorningStar Kitchen. They help take the fear out of Farm-To-Table cooking – out of cooking in general – and help Home Chefs develop the Farmhouse Fusion culinary style in their own kitchens. And with the recipes we continue develop in our Test Kitchen, we believe we are also helping to train a new generation of Home Chefs, for whom Farmhouse Fusion wil​​l come naturally. Personally, I am passionate about and dedicated to the work at MorningStar. I love the products we have created and use them frequently in my own kitchen. And I am looking forward to the day when my own grandchildren and their friends will be creating Farmhouse Fusion menus in their kitchens.

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