Passion in the Stonehouse |

Passion in the Stonehouse

You must have passion in life. Brandon Dietrick, the chef at the Stonehouse, has two. The pursuit of culinary craftsmanship and the mastery of his bicycle. The two passions have grown up together.

He started in the kitchen of his grandmother’s restaurant at age 11. He was a prep cook at 13 and line-cooking at 15. Then, a sous-chef at age 16. He trained at doing everything in her Ukiah restaurant, the “Broiler Steakhouse”, and crowned all his efforts with a degree in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute in Boston.

His specialty is California cuisine which he describes as a “combination of world flavors”. His grandmother taught him the basics of traditional southern food. From his first cookbook, at age 8, the Joy of Cooking, he learned how to dress a muskrat, a squirrel, and even skin a coon. His experience was a “magic blending” and now includes vegan to sustainable, short-order to fine dining.

He learned by going round the world twice. A stint in the U.S. Navy took him to 52 countries and, in a sort of polar opposite to cooking, he was part of the Navy’s Ballistic and Underwater Demolition Services (BUDS); also part of a political asylum program, taking people out of Kuwait during Desert Storm. He also served on the USS Admiral Nimitz as part of an arms embargo controlling smuggling in and out of Kuwait. These experiences round out the horizons of any young man.

But Brandon used the second of his passions to really round out his culinary career. He got his first tricycle at the age of 3. At age 12 he began racing all of California, Nevada, and Oklahoma with Bicycle Motor Cross (BMX). Later, working for Risse Racing of Hayward, California, he was sent to Europe and spent about five years in Western Europe. He raced and represented the company which had designed some of the first, full suspension mountain bikes. He lived with local families and ate the food in England, Scotland, Germany, Spain, France and Portugal. The experience opened his palate and he now brings new ideas and recipes to the Stonehouse Restaurant.

Pam Scanlon is co-owner, with Mimi Boardman, of Stonehouse Restaurant.

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