Cincinnati native and University of Cincinnati alumna, Stephanie Schifrin Salas was born to be a chef. Early on, while watching PBS’s original celebrity chef, Julia Child, Stephanie was enthralled with all things cooking. Her junior high classmates began referring to her as “Chef Steph” well before her graduation from Queen City Culinary Academy and the Culinary Institute of America.
Feeding larger groups has become Chef Stephanie’s niche. Cooking at home for two or four people has become increasingly difficult as she has grown accustomed to feeding the masses.
Chef Stephanie’s cooking style is a modern mix of classic flavors. She has a flair for taking ordinary ingredients and making them extraordinary.
Chef Stephanie accepted the position of Executive Chef at The Dayton Club atop the Kettering Tower this past July. While she stays busy helping the club through it’s rebrand, she also found time to answer our Chef 10 ? interview.
What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Fresh herbs & citrus…they add so much flavor and acidity to dishes and allow me to use less salt!
What ingredient do you dread?
Anything in a can!
What’s your favorite dish to make?
Soups & sauces. I was classically trained as a saucier out of culinary school & my first Chef taught me if I could make a good soup or sauce; I could make ANYTHING!
What’s your favorite pig out food?
It’s either a good pizza or bowl of really awesome pasta.
What restaurant, other than your own, do you like to dine at in the Miami Valley?
I am a fan of The Paragon, Thai 9, Corner Kitchen, Mamma DiSalvo’s.
What’s your best advice for home chefs?
Don’t over complicate things…if it tastes great & your friends & family love it…then it’s a win! The pics on Pinterest, social media & recipe books don’t always get it right!! Cook from your heart & soul…the rest will follow
If you could invite any 4 guests to a dinner party who would they be and why?
Julia Child, Ronald Reagan, My Grandpa Stu & Michael Jordan…to discuss the world, sports, cooking, my love of all of them and how they all individually had a part of shaping me to be the talented chef (& fan of things sports & politics) that I am today
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Other strong & talented women in our business that succeed and grow—that are willing to share their stories and knowledge with others. Those (like me) who mentor and challenge young chefs to do better, to be humble, to learn the craft from the ground up and take a piece and part from every cook, utility worker, chef, FOH co-worker, GM, bartender you come into contact with—you never know when you will work with them again…and you never know what trick of the trade they will teach you…inspire you with or motivation you will want to share with a protégée in the future!
What do you do in the Miami Valley on a day off?
Spend time with good friends & loved ones checking out locally owned shops, restaurants, galleries & museums. I love learning about the history of the Miami Valley area and have used a great deal of its people & places as inspirations in my new menus here at the Dayton Club.
Share a kitchen disaster, lucky break or other interesting story:
Funny sports related laugh…when I was the Executive Chef @ Soldier Field in Chicago my Game Day Kitchen was on one of the Skybox levels in the stadium…I had the pleasure of coming in to find Paris Hilton, Jim Belushi, Bill Murray and other famous celebrities helping my line cooks bang out orders during a rush! They were lost…but it was always so much fun watching them play along with my staff!!