Chef Debbie Gold studied restaurant management at the University of Illinois, and then attended L’Ecole Hoteliere de Tain L’Hermitage in France’s Rhone Valley. After graduation, she apprenticed for a period of two years at Michelin-starred French restaurants including Michel Chabran, Albert LeCompt, Jean Marc Reynaud and Le Gourmandin. When she returned to Chicago in 1987, she was promptly hired by world-renowned Charlie Trotter’s. There she spent several years working her way through each cook position and fine-tuning her already considerable skills.
In 1989, Chef Gold returned to France and worked as an executive chef at L’Albion in Nice for two years. After returning to Chicago in 1991, Gold became the pastry chef at Everest and then executive chef at Mirador until 1994. When Kansas City’s American Restaurant was in need of a new chef, it was a perfect match. Esquire named Debbie a “Chef to Watch” in 1997, and received the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Midwest” in 1999. In 2002, Chef Gold left The American Restaurant to follow her dream and open her own restaurant, 40 Sardines, in Overland Park, Kansas. The restaurant received many accolades, including a nomination for “Best New Restaurant” from the James Beard Foundation. After five very successful years, Gold decided to close 40 Sardines and return to The American Restaurant.
Chef Gold continues to bring national attention to Kansas City. As an active member of the culinary community, she has hosted James Beard Foundation fundraising dinners, as well as developing local seminars and special events that feature renowned chefs from across the country. Her menu for the Crayola Cafe, a well-known children’s restaurant, was named the #1 Kids’ Menu in America by Restaurant Hospitality. She has appeared on several national broadcast networks including PBS, Food Network and Bravo and has been featured in national advertising campaigns for Grey Poupon, Kikkoman and Vita Prep Blenders.
What makes Kansas City a great place for creativity and innovation?
The diversity of culture. The willingness to collaborate amongst peers. People in Kansas City travel all over the world, work and learn, but want to live where they grew up. They bring the knowledge and talent back to Kansas City.
When and where are you happiest?
Being with my children, working with food and experiencing new places
What is your favorite place in Kansas City?
The Liberty Memorial and National World War I Museum.
Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
The Mediterranean. It’s warm. There is the feeling of history all around you. The food and wine are always amazing.
What's your most treasured personal possession?
The art pieces I have collected while traveling.
Who's your favorite fictional hero?
Atticus Finch. To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorite books/movies. The subtleness of his strength and the strength of his convictions.
Who do you most admire in real-life?
The everyday person, who works hard, takes care of their family, tries to live with integrity and has a good time.