SMC Luncheon Speaker report
SPEAKER: NATALIA TARNAVSKY
At the Senior Men’s Club Luncheon on Tuesday, November 27th, Natalia Tarnavsky, the Executive Chef at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, talked to us about how she became a chef and shared her culinary philosophy that guides her work. She grew up in a Detroit-area Ukrainian family and her best early memories are of their kitchen, where everything seemed to happen. Although she was a picky eater, food was always a passion of hers. She attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York, one of the best culinary schools in the world. She moved back to Michigan to be near her family and worked at, among other places, the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House and Tom’s Oyster Bar. She began her current position in July of 2018. Natalia has three children, aged between 6 and 12 years old, and appreciates that her position does not involve the crazy hours of many restaurant chef jobs.
Her kitchen at the War Memorial serves banquets of up to 500 guests, and she has a great staff to rely on. Natalia says she is a simple chef, but she draws from diverse influences and has a great palate, so most things she puts together work. Her biggest challenge as an executive chef is time management and learning to delegate to her staff. She believes in the importance of healthy eating and tries to keep her menus balanced. She avoids margarine and over salting the food but believes in moderation in all things. She appreciates the need to address the growing number of food allergies and gluten-free diets, but she wonders why we see so many now when we went thousands of years without problems. Natalia’s best Ukrainian dish is borscht because she can throw everything in it and still produce something good. The SMC audience appreciated Natalia’s insights into the War Memorial kitchen and we look forward to more great luncheon buffets.
Reported by David Morrow