Tim Kolanko :: CHEF'S ROLL :: The Professional Chef Network

Tim Kolanko

My goal is to cook good honest food while teaching the next generation of cooks the traditions and techniques that have been passed on to me.
Blue Bridge Hospitality. San Diego, CA
Executive Chef
A.R. Valentien - Lodge at Torrey Pines. La Jolla, CA
Chef De Cuisine
Renaissance. Aspen, CO
Chef De Partie/ Station Chef
Tapawingo. Elsworth, MI
Chef De Partie/ Station Chef
Grand Rapids Community College. Grand Rapids, MI
Culinary Student
Ingredient sourcing
Kitchen management
Labor cost management
Inventory control
Menu development
Recipe development
I cook with respect for the ingredients and how we handle them.
Tim Kolanko
Tim Kolanko
San Diego, CA
United States

Blue Bridge Hospitality
Executive Chef

I grew up in Michigan close to my grandma who had a huge garden at thier house on the river.  They had a huge garden, gooseberries, a pear tree, rhubarb at the bottom of the hill, a cellar full of pickles and always some salami hanging.  It took me years to appreciate how lucky I was to be surrounded by all that great food.

As a young teen I started washing dishes, which lead to becoming a cook pretty quickly.  I loved the pace and energy of the kitchen long before I knew anything about actual cooking. When I finally decided to go to culinary school, I committed completely, working full time, going to school full time, and picking up catering work and part time jobs to fill any gaps during the off times. 

After school I'd saved enough money to spend two monthes backpacking through Europe and secured a job upon my return and a legendary restaurant Tapawingo.  They'd just hired an up and coming young chef from Chicago named Stuart Brioza.  It was my first introduction to true fine dining!   He was the most focused and determined chef I'd ever seen and the cooking was more refined than anything I'd done up to that point. 

My next move was to Aspen where I spent the next few seasons at Renaissance.  To this day the hardest kitchen I've ever worked in.  The food was progressive, the kitchen small, and it was intense! 

Finally an early mentor who I'd catered with  put me in touch with Jeff Jackson who was about to open the Lodge at Torrey Pines!  Everything he said about food was music to my ears.  It was how I wanted to cook and a chance to move to California.  I spent the next ten years at A.R. Valentien.  I became sous chef after about a year and chef de cuisine shortly there after.  In Jeff I'd found a mentor that gave me freedom creatively while instilling in me a certain way of seeing food.  Not a lot of hard rules but more of a moral guideline of respect for the ingredients and the process of handling them. In that kitchen we cooked with love and deep respect for the craft of cooking.  It was in that kitchen where I became a chef...