Shawn comes with experience, talent and wisdom beyond his age, taking the title of Sous Chef just a week before his 21st birthday. Shawn’s first taste of cooking education began in 8th grade at Duluth Central High School’s Secondary Technical Campus with his first mentor, Glenn D’Amour. D’Amour, Culinary Arts Instructor and Executive Chef CEC, taught a series of classes offered at Central that nurtured Shawn’s culinary interests. Six different classes with both back of the house and front of the house focused courses included: Intro to Foods, World Cooking, Artistry of Pastry, Line Cooking, Deli, and Deli Management. Shawn took every class offered, and even took some twice. The class participated in ‘Top Chef’ inspired quick-fire challenges, in-class contests, and instructional activities. In 9th grade Shawn attended the coveted Chicago food show, in 10th grade he toured culinary colleges, in 11th grade was a guest on radio talk shows, and showcased his talents at endless competitions, including a DSSO event at the Cirrus hanger, all before graduating high school.
Beginning in 2011, under the supervision of Executive Chef Kevin Ilenda, Shawn arrived at Restaurant 301 eager to learn and broaden his talents, and that he has. Chef Kevin’s locally sourced, seasonal, and health inspired menu has given Shawn just the right tools to work with to soar to the next level in the kitchen. Shawn’s philosophy is to create a quality dish so the guest will leave happy, he says “not good, I want food to be great!”
Shawn has a cool, calm and collective demeanor in the kitchen which is a breath of fresh air in an industry that is sweat and hustle. Shawn’s dishes are clean but rebellious with bold flavors showing a well thought out style to cooking. Shawn has a secret passion for Asian cuisine that we have yet to tap into.
The hotel and restaurant industries play an important role as a mainstay of the economy, a contributor to worthy causes, and an active booster of our guests’ well-being. By partaking in events such as Death by Chocolate, the Chef’s Brunch, and live cooking demo’s with troubled youth at Woodland Hills, Shawn has given back to our community. When asked what his first efforts will be as Sous Chef Shawn stated “the team is important, be the teacher and lead the training” and we are happy to have him do so.