My Mom, Barbara Malin Parker
My Mom, my biggest cheerleader, and first culinary mentor. She made me believe in myself.

I grew up during the 1970’s and ‘80’s in Gunnison, Colorado. I literally can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love food, and wasn’t in the kitchen cooking, being encouraged and mentored by my Mom, a stay-at-home parent, to learn the craft. Growing up, my parents didn’t have a lot of money, so we always had a garden, and nothing in our home ever went to waste. From this upbringing, I have a tremendous respect for, fresh, locally grown, seasonal ingredients, buzz-words today, but a way of life back then.

My Father’s job of writing and doing research always involved a lot of traveling. Thankfully, my parents saw the educational value for me in tagging along. While Dad worked, Mom and I would check out museums and other landmarks, but, most remarkably, hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop restaurants, and markets. It was our goal to try to eat at a different ethnic restaurant every meal and experience all that the world had to offer. I would often return home, and try to “recreate” many of the dishes that I was introduced to.

During high school, I took my first job in a professional kitchen. I loved everything about working in a kitchen, from getting to play with food, the camaraderie of the kitchen team, even the back-breaking, long hours. I couldn’t wait to get out of school each day to go to work, and getting paid for it was just an added bonus!

I was 17 when I decided I wanted to be a Chef, and after high school, I moved to Hyde Park, New York to attend cooking school at The Culinary Institute of America.

I’ve enjoyed a remarkable career, spanning over 30 years so far, and yet, I feel like I’m just getting a good start!  I’ve been lucky enough to live and work in 6 different states throughout my years in this business, and have experienced everything from hotels, fine-dining restaurants, country clubs, gourmet markets, caterers, teaching and working in test kitchens.

My family has been lucky enough to call  Sarasota, Florida our home since 1999, and the bounty of what the area has to offer on a gastronomic level expands each year we live here. My goal for this blog is to share my favorite local places, favorite local foods and culinary traditions.  I hope that you will enjoy exploring with me!

Chef Malin Parker
Chef Malin Parker