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Marjorie Ashens layers flavors in her dishes

August 15, 2016 // by Denise M. Reagan

As chef de cuisine at North Beach Fish Camp, Marjorie Ashens cooks a creative menu fresh fish in a lively, casual setting. She is one of six chefs featured in NOLA MOCA's Women of the Knife on August 19. The event is inspired by Confronting the Canvas: Women of Abstraction, and exhibition featuring six Abstract Expressionist painters.

Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Octopus Lift b
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Octopus c
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Octopus Sliced d
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.

How did you become interested in cooking?

My mom got me interested in cooking. She always had (and still does!) the most amazing gardens and was always canning, pickling, making jams. Plus, being one of five kids, the rule was if you cooked, you didn't have to do dishes! Let's just say all my brothers and sisters learned to cook.

What is your training as a chef?

My training as a chef was from Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and every restaurant I've ever worked in.

Where have you worked?

I've worked in Michigan and Florida. I worked for Milos Cihelka and Brian Polcyn in Michiga, and Ben Groshell and Giovanni Acireale in Florida. I've worked as a pastry chef, garde manger, saucier, sous chef, and chef de cuisine, and loved every minute of it!

Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Outside Sign e
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Building f
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Eat Fresh Seafood Sign g
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.

What are you doing now?

I am currently chef de cuisine at North Beach Fish Camp in Neptune Beach.

What foods do you love to cook?

I love to cook EVERYTHING! My favorites tend to range to ethnic, Thai, Chinese, Italian, all Southern cuisine, and of course, anything to do with baking.

What has your experience as a woman in the restaurant world been like?

My experience as a woman in the kitchen has been what every person in the hospitality field would tell you: we have good days and bad days, we go through it together as a team, and we get up the next day because we love what we do. 

Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Salt Sprinkling k
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Nuts and Sprouts i
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Sauteeing Onions m
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.

What do you want people to know about your food?

What I want people to know about my cuisine is that there is always thought behind every dish, I've always tried to layer flavor and have some element to make you smile at the same time.

What course will you be preparing for Women of the Knife and what are you thinking of including?

I have fourth course for the dinner and will do a seared tuna with a summer truffle and nori ponzu, crispy duck tongue, and a sambal vinaigrette.

How is Confronting the Canvas: Women of Abstraction inspiring your ideas for the event?

The art is amazing! The colors just jump off the canvas, and I hope the flavors in my dish do as well.

Buy your tickets to Women of the Knife now.

See more photography by Brandi Hill on her website or on Instagram.

Marjorie Ashens North Beach Fish Camp Round WIndow n
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.

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