While in high school, I discovered my passion for the world of culinary arts with my direction set to become an executive chef. Plymouth Salem High School was on a campus that consisted of two large high schools, which actually had a culinary arts program in the school with a real working restaurant. My experience there drove me further into the culinary field. I also worked for many small restaurants along the way throughout high school and college.
Years later I graduated and went to a A.C.F. Culinary Apprenticeship. I was fortunate enough to do my apprenticeship at the “Palace” in Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons under Mario Etimad, then later moving to work under chef Steve Allen at “Steve and Rocky’s”. I am grateful to have had the opportunities to learn under both of these incredible chefs.
As much of a fan of Michigan that I was, I chose to move west to Aspen, Colorado. I spent a number of years in the remarkable ski town working in restaurants at the St. Regis, Snowmass Club and Pinions. But most of my years were spent working as a caterer for ‘Aspen Harvest’. I had such amazing experiences learning under chef Michael McHugh and doing exquisite dinner parties for the elite and large catered events.
From there I spent a great deal traveling, learning about wine in the Napa Valley and experiencing food and fine dining all over the West Coast before stopping at Salt Lake City for 2002 Winter Olympics, where I found myself as the assistant sous chef for the Legacy Lodge in Park City. I felt right at home coming from Aspen, designing parties for Sundance Film Festival, and the Winter Olympic ski and snowboarding events. I thoroughly enjoyed this stop at the Olympics, combining two major passions of mine, snowboarding and culinary arts.
In the fall of 2002 I returned home to Michigan to open my first restaurant, ‘Taste Private Chef Company’. It was a good two-year run where I learned a lot about owning a restaurant and running a business. From there I relocated back to Colorado, where I was the executive chef at The Berkshire Restaurant in Stapleton, Colorado. Chef Woodie Thomas has been cooking for 25 years and has worked in catering/ restaurants from Ann Arbor to Aspen. Chef Thomas’s skills have been profiled in notable publications such as Denver Magazine, 303, Westword, 5280 Magazine and more. For the past few years I have taken a break from the restaurant scene to start a family and now have two beautiful girls..Nyo, born July 2011 and Cella, born January 2013!