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Chef Leah Bodine

Accidental Chef

I call myself the ‘accidental chef’. When I was little, I did not proclaim I was going to cook for hundreds of people one day. I thought I was going to do something else, anything else. I took my first restaurant job at sixteen and fell in love with the hospitality industry. I have an extremely outgoing personality, some say I am a major Type A, and loved meeting and talking to people. From then on, I just could not leave the business. Believe me, I tried on several occasions.

Leap of Faith

My career path started as a front of the house manager; however, as part of training I was required to spend time in the kitchen learning recipes and on long the way picked up different skills. My love for the front of house was tested because I was falling deeper in love with the back of the house. This is where the ‘accidental’ part comes in. Through the years, I kept learning from the restaurant chefs everything I could from the simplest techniques to amazing plating details all the while still managing the front of house. It was not until I returned to my hometown, I decided to take the leap of faith and open my own catering company, Blue Dragonfly Catering.

My Love for Food

My company focuses on Mediterranean cuisine. This is not just Italian or Greek, but from almost all countries surrounding the sea including France, Spain, Egypt, and Moroccan. I also love doing German food because of my heritage. Nothing like a good Jaegerschnitzel on a cold winter night! However, I love the challenge of learning new cuisines and developing recipes of my own. Outside of catering, I do private in-home cooking classes along with larger classes held in my commercial kitchen. I love the look of amazement from my students, both youth and adult, when they learn a fun tip or trick in the kitchen or when they learn a recipe is simple to make even though the name or instructions look difficult. It is fun to bring wonder, joy, and knowledge to those I have taught.

Cooking for Icons

My most rewarding time as a chef has been catering to classic music talent such as REO, Lyle Lovett, ZZ Top, Chicago, Peter Frampton, Vince Gill, and Styx just to name a few.  I never thought in a million years my career would bring me face to face with rock and country icons.

Dreams Fulfilled

Through my experience, I have been able to travel extensively, live in Paris, France for a while, become a business owner and now, launching my own line of olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and signature spice blends. Becoming the ‘accidental chef’ is a career path I did not see when I was younger, but has led to fulfill my dreams of travel, teaching and meeting people I would have never met.

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