The Final 72 – Cooking with a James Beard Award Winning Chef.

Monday March 12, 2018 10:33 P.M. EST

Friday began quite early again due to us getting home early from a restaurant  opening that I talked about in the previous blog. So the plan was to get up and work out early after dropping chef’s daughter off at school.  The only real reason that I went was to swim at the gym that I thought we were going to. Instead we went and made some desserts for the restaurant. Yiheng made a flour-less chocolate cake that is matched with a round piece of chocolate Ganache. Once that was done we had a quick breakfast across the street, and went on a shopping trip.  We went to visit the local Cutlery store called Ambrosi Bothers. They service almost all of the chef’s knives in the entire city of Kansas City. It was amazing to see all of the different gadgets, and knives to use in the kitchen. I already have a few chef’s knives but I did purchase a new slicing knife. This will aid me when I need to cut prepared meats and other cooked objects. After this fun, we began running our errands for the day. This included dropping off  catering supplies to the company that we made lunch for that past Wednesday, and making a run to the apple store. Once that Happened we went back to the restaurant to start our prep for service. It was quite busy that evening due to the large college basketball tournament taking place down the street. At one point during the night we had hit a rush where we sold 20 burgers in about 15 minutes.  There was also an group that came into the restaurant for a special dinner where nothing was ordered off the menu. One of the starters that we made was salmon tartar.  This was a lot of fun to make because it allowed me to learn the proper way to filet a fish. Chef Tio made it look so easy.  Once we filet the salmon she took a small piece of the fish and chopped it up very fine and adding all of these amazing ingredients to it, like an artist adding layers upon layers of color to their work. She also knew that I had never ate raw fish before. So pictured below was the first raw fish I have ever ate before in my entire life.


Below is one of the other menu items that we made for the group which was pan seared scallops with blanched potatoes that were then pan fried, with homemade chorizo, and pickled red onions.


Shortly after this dinner was done we made our dinner, and headed home for some well needed rest.  The next day would also be my last day at the restaurant. Unlike most days we slept in pretty late and enjoyed it very much. This was a major day for getting prep work done for the next week of the three month catering contract that Chef had just received.  Once all of the shopping was done Chef took us to a really cook place for lunch in which she called ” fun Chinese food.” This place was called Blue Koi and it had some great dumplings, and roasted duck. We all got hit with all of the dreaded food coma and we all went back to the house and took naps. We all got up and rushed over to the restaurant to begin prep work. I chopped lots of squash, and eggplant for Monday’s vegetable dish for the catering event. Since we had all of these vegetables around Yiheng wanted to make what is really called vegetable byaldi, but is better know from a famous Disney movie which is called Ratatouille.  Here is one of the ones that we made before it went into the oven compared to the one from the movie

IMG-0825.JPG     Image result for ratatouille movie dish

So with that we also made a few other dishes for fun with some of the salmon and potatoes from the night before. It was great to see all of our minds come together to see make some amazing food. For dinner that night I made a pan roasted salmon with a maple bourbon glaze and the same potatoes as the scallop dish the night before. It was such a hit that I didn’t get a picture of it.  So to wrap up my time at the restaurant I took pictures with some of the people I worked with. In the first picture is Keith who ran the grill in the kitchen. In the second picture are Daniel, and Jake, who are probably the funniest and most enjoyable bartenders I’ve ever met.



Finally here are some of the pictures of the restaurant and kitchen.

IMG-0827 – The Dish Room

IMG-0828 The Kitchen: Small but Mighty

IMG-0822 – A map Showing Westtown township including Westtown’s Campus.

IMG-0823 The restaurant from the view of a comfy couch as I rest my feet briefly.

Sunday was a nice day to end my adventure out in Kansas City. After Sleeping in and packing we went to a donut shop for breakfast and then went around town on a street car, and took a few final pictures before I got to the airport.

The First picture below is me standing exactly in both Kansas and Missouri at the same time.


And the final picture taken of course was with Chef herself at the belfry before she took me to the airport so I could catch my flight home.

IMG-5633 Thank you for reading the blog, and I will be writing a shorter blog in a few days with a reflection of my time out with Chef Tio.  Until next time!


Things Got Very Busy Very Fast- Cooking with a James Beard Award Winning Chef

March 8th 2018  9:09 P.M CST

So the last four days have been quite crazy to say the very least. Monday was a day starting to do prep work for what was to come on later in the week. Going into the later half of the week there was multiple events going on later in the week.  After Monday’s prep we went into service not knowing what to expect the crowd would be like. It just so happened that it was quiet, and we were able to leave early. However, Chef Tio told us that the next morning we would be leaving in the morning when she does and follower her for the whole day. This meant not sleeping which I was able to do for the past few days. The day included going to the gym,breakfast, food shopping,and beginning to prep for a catering event for Wednesday. The cool part about Tuesday was that Chef Tio had a speaking event at Sprint’s headquarters which are just over the state line in Kansas. She along with two other successful women from the Kansas City area to talk about empowering women in the workforce. This was ahead of  International Women’s Day which was on Thursday. It was amazing to hear her talk about her experiences as a women chef in a male heavy profession. This was because she showed all of the power and tenacity needed to get to where she is today. That event took up most of the night. IMG-0811  – Chef Tio speaking at an event at Sprints Headquarters.

Continue reading “Things Got Very Busy Very Fast- Cooking with a James Beard Award Winning Chef”

My Office For the Week- Cooking with a James Beard Award Winning Chef.

March 4,2018 10:00 P.M. CST


– The Kitchen at the Belfry in Kansas City.

Well it has been a crazy first three days in Kansas City. As soon as I touched down, I knew it was going to be an amazing week. The first real surprise that I received was that within five minutes of getting off of my flight I had my checked bag. This, of course, was a complete first for me, because whenever you fly into a place like Philadelphia it takes at least a half an hour for the bags to get to you. As soon as I had gotten my bag I met with Chef Tio and we were off. The second surprise that I received was where we went for lunch. I would have never thought that I could get a Philly Cheese steak that was good outside of Philly. Boy I was wrong. Below is me enjoying a piece of home in Kansas city. (They even import the right rolls from Philly so it’s a true Philly cheese steak.)

IMG-5591 After that we headed over to the Belfry to open up, and get prep done before shift. That is when I met Keith who works in the kitchen, and John & Dan who are the bartenders. It just happened to be First Friday in KC, which is a giant arts night around town, so they told me to be ready for anything. Most of my night included making different types of dough, deviled eggs, and running food. We left early that night due to me almost falling asleep after eating my dinner because I was tired from traveling. As soon as I got back to Chef’s house I got in bed and fell asleep. Saturday began with me sleeping in until around ten-ish. Today was a long day ahead of me. Between working again that night Chef and I went and did most of the shopping for the restaurant. This also meant we had to go to the restaurant Depot. As we pulled into the parking space Chef told me, “If you hear beeping get the heck out-of-the-way, because they have these forklifts go way too fast and the will run over you.” Just towards the end of the shopping, I almost did get run over. Then it was back to the belfry to begin service. We stayed pretty late working in the kitchen due to a few massive waves of people coming for dinner. Luckily Sundays are an off day so we could relax tomorrow. Well I was somewhat right.  In between picking up Yiheng who is another senior doing the project with me, and him suggesting that we go to a doctoral piano recital; we got a run in at the local park.  And here we are back to work tomorrow. I cant wait to see what this week has a head of me!

–  Noah

Grandma’s Love – Going to Cook with A James Beard Award-Winning Chef.

March 1st, 2018 11:55 P.M.

Hello, My name is Noah Dzielawa and I am currently in my fourth year at Westtown. For my Senior Project, I will be traveling to Kansas City Missouri to work with former Westtown student and class of 1988 Chef Celina Tio. Since graduating from Westtown, Chef Tio has won a James Beard Award, and has appeared on The Next Iron Chef , and Top Chef Masters. So you might be asking yourself, why is a high school student going to work with an award-winning chef?

Well, Cooking is a passion for me. For as long as I can remember cooking and especially food has been a strong point in my life. There are pictures of me at age 3 in a chefs hat, and apron helping my late Grandmother bake. Since then I have improved in my cooking skills and now have cooked for multiple people at school and at home.  When my Grandmother got sick with Breast Cancer for the second time, I began to slowly stop having the opportunity to cook with her, due to her strong and tough fight with this terrible disease. When my family and I lost her back in the fall of my sophomore year, I knew that I wanted to pay tribute to her by doing what she taught me to love. It was one of the ways that I was able to connect with her after she passed away.

In this project I hope to deepen my passion for cooking, improve my knife skills, to see how life as a chef is, and how to create a restaurant concept and menu. It is now a little over 11 hours until I leave Philly Airport the Mid-West, and of course there is the possibly I might not make it out due to one of the great East coast winter storms rolling into the area in the next few hours. So, I will check in soon, and  I am off to pack!

– Noah