Cookbook From Sleeping Bear Dunes Cottage Country

For years, Cordon Bleu trained chef, Jim Voltz, has had dinner parties for his friends and family on the porch of the little cottage he shares with good friend, Nancy Myers, on Crystal Lake near Frankfort, Michigan, near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  Sit-down dinner parties for six to twelve guests are a weekly occurrence throughout the summer and have become quite well known in the area.  The meals are usually classic French cuisine and the atmosphere is elegant but in a cozy, porch-casual way.  With lots of urging from his happy and sated guests, Jim started giving cooking classes in the summer of 2008 and has now written his aptly named, Dinner on the Porch, cookbook. 

At first glance, Jim doesn’t seem to be a typical or even likely chef.  He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in engineering and spent over 30 years working in the petro-chemical industry.  But it was while he was the Managing Director of the International Division of Petrofina and located in Petrofina’s Paris offices that he had a chance to pursue his avocation, cooking.  He attended the legendary Cordon Bleu Culinary School and completed their training for non-professional chefs, earning a certificate of completion and the right to be called “chef.”   Jim likes to entertain his cooking students with stories about taking classes at the Cordon Bleu.  One of his favorites is about the instructor who dumped Jim’s spinach salad on the floor because one spinach leaf was wrong side up—all expletives were in French of course.  Back in the United States, he continued his training at the Dallas Culinary Academy where he was also a Sous Chef and Assistant Teacher, and later, attended the Grand Rapids Culinary Institute for additional training.

At first glance, Jim doesn’t seem to be a typical or even likely chef.  He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in engineering and spent over 30 years working in the petro-chemical industry.  But it was while he was the Managing Director of the International Division of Petrofina and located in Petrofina’s Paris offices that he had a chance to pursue his avocation, cooking.  He attended the legendary Cordon Bleu Culinary School and completed their training for non-professional chefs, earning a certificate of completion and the right to be called “chef.”   Jim likes to entertain his cooking students with stories about taking classes at the Cordon Bleu.  One of his favorites is about the instructor who dumped Jim’s spinach salad on the floor because one spinach leaf was wrong side up—all expletives were in French of course.  Back in the United States, he continued his training at the Dallas Culinary Academy where he was also a Sous Chef and Assistant Teacher, and later, attended the Grand Rapids Culinary Institute for additional training.

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