Chef Val (far right) and family a few years back at Trauger’s Farm
A short story from Val Roy Gerischer: Chef and Pastry Chef at Indian Rock.
I began working in the kitchen at an early age at Grandmas. When I was in elementary school, I would spend every summer with Grandma on her large farm in Utah. Grandma loved to bake*. On Tuesdays she baked bread, on Wednesdays she picked fruit, and on Thursdays, she made desserts and pastries from the previous day’s pickings. She expected me to be there to help her at every step of the process and for me this was great fun. I never considered it work. Those early Utah experiences have stayed with me my entire life and are the basis for my love of food.
My education continued some years later in junior high school when I had stopped going to Grandmas for the summer and instead spent the summers with my older sister Ranee. She loved to cook, but was a horrible baker*. She was the one that taught the skills of cooking and passed on that passion to me. Many years later when I had moved East and opened the Carversville Inn, she came to help me in my own kitchen at the Restaurant, and asked me where I had gotten all my knowledge from. She was astounded when I told her that it was all her fault, and that I had gleaned it all from her.
In high school I began working at a country club in Beverly Hills as a valet. One day the chef was ill, but was by himself in the kitchen, and I got roped into helping him get through his day. He sat for the rest of the day on a stool in the kitchen and instructed on what to do with the orders that came in. He was elated to have some help, and with the knowledge I had from Grandma and Ranee surprised at how much I knew. He insisted that I become his assistant, and my career as a chef had begun.
Since then, both Grandma, Ranee and Chef have passed on, but their passion for food lives on in me. When you visit us at Indian Rock, I look forward to passing on my love and passion to you and your family with every dish I serve.
A short footnote on baking
Over the 30 years that I have been in the kitchen, the fundamental difference between baking and cooking have been reinforced from experience over and over again. Most chefs hate to bake, and many bakers are not good chefs or cooks. I have always loved both. I have always lived in the “art of cooking” world, and in the “science of baking” world.