Tanya Schaeffer is the new executive chef at the Bistro at June's Cottage, a new restaurant in June's Cottage Cafe that will host its grand opening from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Bistro, 216 N. Broadway St. in Leavenworth.
1) Tell us about your background as a chef. Where did your interest come from and how did you decide to make it a career?
My background as a chef started when I graduated from Gros Bonnet (means “Big Shot” in French) Culinary Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii and since then have been a private chef, caterer and culinary instructor.
My interest began from being the oldest girl of 14 siblings and my mother always made a five-star meal and I was her sous chef. I decided to make it a career after spending 10 years in a field I was no longer excited and inspired by and the only thing I felt could provide me this was being a chef and to this day is the best decision I ever made.
2) How would you describe your personal cooking style? What are your specialties?
I would describe my personal cooking style as eclectic, meaning that I take the things I love from all cuisines and try to meld them into one harmonious bite.
My specialties are most definitely steak and seafood. I grew up in Alaska and never bought fish from a grocery store till I moved away and was shocked at the price! Nevertheless, my family and I travel back to Alaska every summer to fish and stock our freezer up with wild salmon, halibut and clams.
3) What do you hope to bring to the city with your menu at the Bistro at June's Cottage?
I hope to bring refined classical, yet casual cuisine to the table and provide an atmosphere of homey coziness with a touch of romance and show that you don’t have to pay outrageous prices for fantastic food and service.
4) The grand opening of the bistro is scheduled for June 20. How do you plan to mark the occasion?
I plan to mark the occasion by providing the community an opportunity to revisit a local landmark and make new and memorable dining experiences.
5) You are also a member of the Fort Leavenworth Spouses Club. Have your travels as part of a military family influenced your cuisine? How?
My travels as a military spouse have definitely expanded my palate and knowledge of different regional cuisines. I have incorporated the best of those experiences into the bistro’s menu and look forward to sharing it with the community.