Saturday, January 21, 2012

 Executive Chef Domingo Ramos

Executive Chef Domingo Ramos was born and raised in the heart of Seattle, Washington He was always fascinated by the happenings of the kitchen whether it was washing dishes or preparing vegetables with his mother. The traditional Native American fried bread was something always to look forward to when a lot of people were coming over, Domingo also having such a big Filipino back ground he was raised knowing that good food brought good vibes. It was at the ripe age of 7 that he proclaimed to his family, “I’m going to be a chef!” Years passed and at 15 years old, Domingo embarked upon his culinary ambitions by working at a pizza parlor. After a 3 year stretch and feeling little growth?, he moved on to construction, but of course this was short lived as he realized his true calling is cooking.
 Domingo started looking for culinary opportunities, but couldn’t find many without necessary experience. Upon seeking out further prospects at the North Seattle Community College campus, he landed himself a job working as their dishwasher. This was a unique opportunity to observe how diverse techniques were being taught by professionals. Interested of course, he stayed late after class with the school's chefs learning the next day’s lessons. Striving to get himself back into actively producing and creating in the kitchen, he started to work in a small café cooking and learning the basics of breakfast cookery.
As his passion for food grew, Domingo decided to travel and see how culinary adventures could heighten his knowledge about food. The first stop was Japan. Although it was a short trip, the experience of seeing how other countries presented traditional dishes (nothing like what America has done) was eye opening.  It was a revelation to what an authentic fresh, local and old style cooking is supposed to be like. This bought to his attention Thailand.  This is where his entire outlook on Pan-Asian cuisine changed. He spent a month traveling all across Thailand’s vast countryside eating street snacks picked and sold right in front of him and feasting in big cities where he experienced some of the most flavorful dishes that he would have never enjoyed at any restaurant back home. Domingo really found a passion for Asian cuisine; the flavors and style intrigued him.
After his return from traveling, his first thought was to learn Thai cuisine. Wasting no time, he acquired himself a job working as a line cook at Zen Yai, which was an experience in and of itself. Domingo was one of only two English speaking cooks and worked for two traditionally raised Thai women, who not only created the menu, but worked the line daily making sure every dish was cooked exactly to expectation.. It was a place for educating himself on how to cook traditional Thai dishes and utilize the culture's techniques, but these were not the only things he learned while working there.  Still, always striving for more and with such a small menu, Domingo looked elsewhere for a more professional kitchen.
As he looked all around the greater Seattle area for work he ran into Chef Chris Kaiser of Joey’s restaurant. He met with Chef Kaiser as they were opening their first restaurant on American grounds (they are a Canadian based company). The company was in the works of opening, so Domingo started by helping build the kitchen and by doing so got himself a lead prep cook position with Joey's. This is where he found the business side of kitchens to be very important. Domingo started with morning prep and moved himself up to a lead line very quickly. Working under Chef Kaiser he immediately excelled into running the night team and growing to become a talented Sous chef. Joey's taught him three invaluable skills.  The first was leadership.  He learned to manage a fast-paced kitchen containing a staff of over 20+ cooks.  He began to further his understanding regarding the business dimensions of how to run an efficient kitchen.  Lastly, he continued to cultivate his skills as a chef by using classic techniques involving the tastes of both traditional and new age dishes.
In the 5 years Domingo worked with Joey's, he took part in opening up 5 other restaurants within the company, competed in a Joey's Top Chef competition where he placed top in his region and also worked under Regional Chef Casey Miles and Executive Chef Chris Mills (James Beard awarded) in an apprentice program that put him through home schooling. Self-taught and ready to see what else there was to offer, Domingo was transferred to a different location. Soon he realized the office was not where he wanted to be most of the day. Determined to search for the new, he found himself working with one of Seattle's best French restaurants.
 At Café Campange, Domingo started out as a line cook working with only 3 cooks in a turn and burn kitchen. Under the direction of Chef Daisley Gordon this is where Domingo sharpened his skills as a line cook.  Moving from the Garde manger station to grill in months he took a liking to the fast paced and cut throat environment. The café style food was not enough for him though; luckily Chef Gordon also had a finer dining restaurant upstairs simply called Campagne. With opportunity available Domingo pushed his way upstairs within the first 6 months of working in the cafe. The Chef de Cuisine Randy Whiteford was an innovating and inspiring chef to work with. Campange helped Domingo build a solid foundation in the culinary arts, and hone simple, but invaluable techniques in butchering, roasting, braising, smoking, grilling, sautéing, and stock and sauce making; the pillars and foundations of great cooking.
In February 2011 Domingo decided to follow his entrepreneurial path, self-taught and eager to create! He looked into what it takes to open his own small business; with the help of his two longtime friends Gourmet Your Way Catering was created. Working with local products Domingo focuses on his own his own take on Pacific Northwest cuisine combining Pan-Asian and Mediterranean dishes for a unique Eurasian-Pacific Cuisine.  

"I have never been one for inaction. Anything I have ever felt strongly about, I have done something about." - Malcolm X

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