Central Wyoming College culinary students from the Jackson outreach center had the opportunity to work with Michelin Star chef Rene Stein on Thursday, April 23.
Stein, originally from Germany made his way to the United States about seven years ago working in the New York area as a sous chef for Liberty National Gold Course.
“A lot of celebrities golfed there and our cuisine was nice but most wanted hamburgers and hot dogs,” Stein said.
Later, Stein became a chef to cuisine at Seasonal Restaurant, working there for about three and half years before becoming an executive chef at Hospoda, located in the Upper East Side of New York.
Stein has been cooking for about 19 years and about eight years professionally, starting at the age of 15.
“I either wanted to be a roofer or a cook but I was afraid of heights,” Stein said.
It was his father who gave him the connections to start his career to becoming a chef.
“He had connections at a hotel and I was able start an apprenticeship there,” Stein said. “After helping there I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” Stein said that his father also cooked a lot at home which also gave him the desire to become a chef.
Stein moved to Wyoming about a year ago working as the chef at Cakebread Ranch in Thayne. Later, Stein decided he wanted to start his own business. He started a pop-up restaurant, where he creates meals at restaurants and events in the Jackson area.
Stein called his style of cooking as “modern vegetable grilling,” which he said is extremely seasonal.
It was Director of Culinary Arts, Amy Madera who had the idea for Stein to work with her students. Madera had attended a pop-up dinner where Stein created a five course meal for 14 people at an art gallery in Jackson.
“I was impressed that he produced an exquisite dining experience in a non-traditional setting and he did it all without an actual kitchen,” Madera said. “He had wine parings and used local products to serve an exceptional dinner; it was a nice intimate dinner.”
Madera was then invited to another pop-up dinner and started talking with Stein about ways to make his life easier and use kitchens around the community and to start working with her culinary students.
“I am impressed by his humbleness and he is just a rock star chef,” Madera said. “He wants to teach for us in the fall.”
During the photo shoot students made gazpacho with grilled steak and a salad with honey vinaigrette.
“He handles others very patiently, energetically and passionately and both he and the students are eager to work together,” Madera said.