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RestaurantsSanta Cruz
09.23.09

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Phaedra

Photograph by Jenn Ireland
gourmets on the green: Chef Beverlie Terra and Chaminade food and beverage manager Sean Woodruff

The Self-Made Chef

Linwood's chef Beverlie Terra's organic approach to cuisine.

By Traci Hukill


BEVERLIE TERRA became a chef on an impulse. In 1985, the Santa Clara native went wine tasting in Sonoma and wound up shooting the breeze with the owners of a local hotel. "I told them I cooked, they hired me, and I ended up moving up there the next weekend," she says. Since then, with no formal training, the chef at Linwood's at Chaminade has opened the Tokyo Conference Center in Shinagawa, Japan, for Chaminade's parent company, Benchmark, launched a series of farm-to-table dinners (the next one is Oct. 2) and established a no-frills style she laughingly calls "peasant food."

SANTA CRUZ WEEKLY: What do you mean by 'peasant food'?
BEVERLIE TERRA: Simple, lots of flavor. Since I'm Italian, I gravitate toward that. I'm not really into the old-style nouvelle cuisine.

You're not building towers with your food?
No!

How do you learn new dishes and techniques?
Some reading but mostly just going out and checking it out. Everything's fairly simple--it's just putting a new spin on it. I like Monterey. I like San Francisco. It's interesting. It all kind of cycles through. Now it's on fresh, local and this whole farm-to-table story with the locavores.

I have a group of farmers, and they come here and they give me a list of what they have available and I just do the menu from that. We do wine, too; Storr's winery is Oct. 2. All you can drink.

What's the herb you can't live without?
Basil. Definitely basil. Thyme after that. Aren't you going to ask me what my favorite food is?

What's your favorite food?
Sweetbreads. Organ meats. Give me organ meats, baby!

What is it about organ meats?
It's just something I grew up on.

Did you see 'Julie and Julia'?
That's a great movie. I just wish it was more on Meryl Streep than Amy Adams. I would have loved it if it was all Meryl Streep. The amazing thing about Julia Child is she was in her 50s when she started. That's pretty crazy when you think about it. Back then you never heard of women chefs.

SANTA CRUZ RESTAURANT WEEK is Oct. 1-8 at participating restaurants. Visit www.santacruzrestaurantweek .com for more info.


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