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Frankly, I’m old school 3rd generation Upper Kittitas County (UKC) and my son is now the 4th. My grandfather “papa” started working in the Roslyn coal mines in 1909; 30 years later Frank Badda (for whom I am named after) became Superintendent of the mines until they closed in the early 60’s.
I was fortunate to be raised by two wonderful parents. Roslyn classics in their own right, dad was a sports star, mom was a cheerleader. You could find mom playing the accordion or piano at the Teanaway Grange, or find them both up at the lake coordinating our ginormous family reunions. Hiking, fishing, camping was how I spent my youth… throw in some dirt bikes or playing baseball and that’s how I grew up between UKC and “the West Side” (Seattle).
I was the youngest Eagle Scout in the state of Washington; I was only 12 and had to wait until I turned 13 to receive the award. Passionate about anything outdoors I became an activist in the late 60’s becoming a member of REI, the Cousteau Society, even Greenpeace. My early dream career was going to be Forestry. But alas, things change, in college I found myself enrolled in pre-med dental classes…
One day a co-worker asked if I could help her out at a restaurant washing dishes, and well, as you guessed it, the rest was history. Within a year I was the Chef. Then came the many leadership and management seminars to lay foundations for a professional career. I spent the next 35 years as an executive chef at specialty niche restaurants, hotels and resorts.
I became virtually obsessive about learning classic French, Italian, Latin, Mediterranean and regional American cuisines. I later went on to building and designing commercial kitchens and restaurants.
I’ve entertained everyone from heads of state, governors and senators, to foreign delegations to the United States.
I’ve partnered with ESPN, CNN, MTV, the X-Games, Sony, Swatch, Trans World Snow, Rolling Stone, Pepsi, Nabisco, Nestle, Campbell’s and others, like Burton, K2, Gnu, Marker, Lib Tech, Foursquare, Forum, Rusty, Roxy, Quicksilver, Vans, Marker, Billabong, and many more. What a ride!
Along the road, I started working at a historic family butcher shop in North Seattle and later became a USDA federal meat cutter and then Plant Manager. Imagine a chef in that position, I was like a “kid in a candy store” learning where everything came from in the world.
I became a committed “foodie”. I wasn’t just satisfied with cooking “regular food” I developed a passion for learning about food. From intricate culinary methods to organic garden growing there was no stopping me!
Bursting at the seams with way too much information, I began “teaching not talking” about food issues.
Currently, as a member of Slow Food USA, the USDA’s “Chef to Schools” program, the Public Health Department’s “Food Access Coalition”, and serving on many other community-based boards, I’ve maintained being a food activist. I am available for speaking engagements and teach wonderful workshops on culinary topics and organic gardens.
The focus of my weekly column “Frankly Speaking” is not only about food, but also unique and interesting events & activities in Upper County, particularly ones relating to public service and education. If you have an idea for a topic in my column, contact me at the email address in the gray box above or through the Tribune contact page today!