About Raymond

I started baking cakes in Junior High School from a boxed cake mix my Mother had in the pantry.  My sister’s friend Carol use to tease and say, “keep those Saturday afternoon cakes rolling in.  I was excited when my Mother gave me the Joy of Cooking cookbook at an early age.  I did not understand most of the recipes in it but combed through each page marveling at the foods one could create.

In the 80s, I met my dear friend Milena.  She was from the former Yugoslavia and taught me to look at cooking differently – a different perspective than my deep-fried southern roots.  It was a poor, wonderful time in Philadelphia, and she jokes today that when she met me, I was eating hotdogs and frozen vegetables for dinner.  Not exactly true, but close. She was the closest I had to a European friend and I thought her way of cooking was so exotic.  Today I would describe it as good, clean, simple, elegant food.  And I still use many of the processes and make many of the recipes I learned under her tutelage.

My career took me from Philadelphia to Washington DC to Seattle to Southern California to Phoenix -all the while honing my culinary skills and learning new and different ways to entertain.  My friend Vida said she will forever remember me squeezing lime juice on apples to keep them from discoloring.  I retired in Phoenix and returned to my home state of Georgia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where I purchased my 6th grade teacher’s home. Today I am enjoying life, cooking and entertaining.  I hope you will enjoy some of this with me.


Why Chopin?

I came to appreciate classical music later in life.  One of the first composers I was attracted to was Fredric Chopin.  Chopin was recognized as a leading musician of his era and one whose poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation.  He lived the last 18 years of his life in Paris – one of my favorite cities.  In Paris, Chopin seldom performed publicly but preferred playing at his own Paris apartment for small groups of friends. His music speaks to my heart and soul, and I included his etudes at my wedding.

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