Dawn Blume-Hawkes is the creator of ChefChops.com and author of Away From the Kitchen.
Born in New York Dawn lived a bi-coastal life from that point forward; New York, Boston, finally returning to California to earn a B.A. in design and English, and an M.A. in industrial design.
“The influences of growing up around interesting people, writers, artists, explorers, and scientists, all of them quite accomplished cooks considering their OTHER professional pursuits, resulted, even at a very early age, in an acute sense of the high drama of cooking and entertaining with all its glorious renditions. From the Felliniesque dining scene to the laminate and chrome kitchen table – plates slathered with mac and cheese, homemade of course, gave me a sense of the possibilities of food and how it could be mysterious or simple.”
Traipsing around the U.S. and subsequently crossing the continent to explore European lands, Dawn attended classes at The Ealing School of Art and Courtauld Institute of Art in London. In her quest to travel, eat, perfect her design talents and write for various publications, quite naturally led to, among other things, an appreciation of the diversity of cuisines and the magicianship of the chef.
What she took away from her globetrotting experience: “Food and cooking, to a great extent, was demystified for me through the generous teachings of gifted chefs and the inescapable exhaustive trial and error route that took me through many a recipe and most importantly, my travels to different towns, cities, states, and countries. I have, in exchange, become imparted with perceptions, discoveries, ideas and skills that have helped me to speak the language and respect the craft.”
As the years passed, “My curiosity developed into various forms of oblivion by making my way into the best and most prestigious chef’s kitchens with a request (to my small credit, I never entered without permission) not only to meet the chef, but to have a bit of information on some dish that was being prepared or plated. I am eternally grateful that boundaries were never set for me, as this very fact allowed me to enter the food world in a very innocent and intimate way.”
Dawn’s desire to mobilize these associative and disparate talents and passions resulted in a unique cookbook concept, “Away From the Kitchen”, one that would read somewhat like snippets from a novel, with chef’s untold stories and unexplored talents revealed, but that also embraced the cookery – private menus and unconventional tips that could be savored by both professional and everyday cooks.
From these pursuits, ChefChops.com, quite naturally was born, and will be nurtured with the same focus and devotion to the professional and personal exploration of the chef’s world.
Dawn is a member of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), the American Advertising Federation (AAF), National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), and Les Dames d ‘Escoffier (LDEI).