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The Student News Site of Hazen High School

The Kilt

The Student News Site of Hazen High School

The Kilt

Deep Dive with Chef Sepehr

Deep+Dive+with+Chef+Sepehr

I recently embarked on a little escapade to interview (in my opinion) one of the most interesting teachers within Hazen’s staff: Our very own Chef Sepehr

Chef currently teaches Culinary Foundations, Baking and Pastry, Gourmet Foods, and International Foods here at Hazen. He is also working as a football coach at Sammamish High, and is known to have many hobbies on the side, the most notable being music!

Chef previously worked as a professional chef, in a variety of places ranging from The Herbfarm, a five-diamond winning restaurant in Woodinville, to his very own Restaurant, Pullman Bar and Diner, which has been featured in The New York Times, The Food Network, and The Today Show.

After graduating from culinary school, chef went straight into the world of food and hospitality, helping to open and becoming the executive chef of his own restaurant by the time he was just 22 years old. After around half a decade of working and many awards and accolades under his belt, Chef quit to pursue a different career, putting his culinary skills and knowledge to good use. He returned to his home state of Washington and began his work as an educator and a coach.

Here are some candid pieces of advice and personal fun facts from Hazen’s favorite (only) home ec/culinary teacher!

Q: What is your name?

Chef: Chef Sepehr, Sepehr Sadrzadeh (Se-per Sa-dza-deh)

Q: Least/most favorite food? Reasoning?

Chef: I love noodle soups. I grew up eating them growing up here, so I love noodle soups; those are my favorite things to eat. All of them, pho, laksa, ramen, udon, all that. My least favorite food is, anything like buttermilk, or sour cream, or cream cheese. I just don’t like fermented dairy things. 

Q: Favorite thing to make? Any specific stories?

Chef: That’s tough, it changes all the time. Right now, it’s probably, honestly, candy. I’m so sick of making restaurant food. I like pulling sugar and making things like sugar candies, and ribbons, and things like that.

Q: As we know, most of your formal education has been in food/culinary. Are there any teaching/coaching philosophies that you’ve drawn from your experience in that area?

Chef: Yeah, timeliness is probably the most important thing. You can’t do a job well unless you show up on time and get started, you know? That’s a big deal to me. The rest is just overcoming challenges with a level head and not being too emotional; just, eyes on the prize, and being flexible. You’re in the fire every day, so that’s a good way to teach people to deal with stress and anxiety and stuff like that.

Q: Going from cooking and restaurants to teaching and coaching must have been quite the jump career-wise. Are there any things in particular that are really different between your work in restaurants and your work teaching?

Chef: Yeah, the hours are way different. I work way less, and I don’t work till 2 in the morning ever, so that’s nice. You’re dealing with young people instead of people that might be twice my age. I used to work in nightlife and now I work in education, so yeah they’re very different.

Marina: Do you like teaching kids?

Chef: Yeah. Because they listen.  

Q: Aside from cooking and teaching, you’re also a musician! How did that happen?

Chef: My dad was like a Classical Persian Folk Singer, so I grew up with music. I started playing cello in 5th grade and played it in college. I started making music with my best friend in 6th grade. We started making beats on Fruity Loop Studio. 

Marina: That’s awesome.

Chef: So, I’ve been doing music forever.

Q: From what I know you’re currently the football coach for Sammamish High. Have you always had an interest in sports?

Chef: I started by powerlifting competitively, in high school, then through that I joined football. I’ve always had a love for football, and when I quit restaurants that was the first thing I went back to do. I started coaching football before I started teaching.

Q: Sort of continued from the last question, what made you certain that you would pursue culinary for your career?

Chef: I didn’t, haha. I didn’t like school. 

Marina: Hahaha

Chef: So. I didn’t want anything that had to do with me sitting in a class and listening to a lecture all day. I was good with my hands. I had an affinity with cooking, I was good at it, but I don’t know if I was ever sure I wanted to pursue it forever. I don’t think any adult is super certain about anything. I was good at it, and I went up the ranks really quick, but there’s always a little bit of skepticism throughout the career.

Q: Finally, to end off, do you have any advice for Hazen students pursuing a career in culinary? Is it a career path that you would recommend?

Chef: The first thing is, if you’re interested in culinary, get a job at a good restaurant and see if you like the work. That’s the most important thing, because it’s a lot of physical labor. If you like that, there’s two routes you can take: You can either just immediately start working in restaurants, and finding people that you want to learn from and finding the best people that you can, or you go to culinary school. If you want to go to culinary school, I’ll always recommend going to the Culinary Institute of America, the CIA, the original CIA because that’s where I went. I think they prepare students better than any other program in the world.

In addition to a plethora of qualifications, chef’s experience speaks to a sincere love of cooking and working with other people that reaches far beyond just the classes that he teaches. Schooling Highschoolers is tough, and it takes a special kind of teacher to be able to speak to and handle the student body like chef. 

LINKS:

https://vimeo.com/210057745 

https://vimeo.com/210057972

(awesome mini documentary of chef^^)

https://www.press-citizen.com/story/entertainment/2016/03/15/downtown-iowa-city-top-chef-pullman-sepehr-sadrzadeh/81613192/

(awesome article about chef from when he was restauranting^^)

(recipe)

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Marina Sasaki, Staff
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