ebbie Gold laughs when she talks about the fact that she is the only person in her family passionate about food and cooking. And spending time in the kitchen wasn’t something she learned to appreciate from either of her parents. In fact, while still in high school, the Chicago native surprised her parents, when, unbeknownst to them, she subscribed to Bon Appetit and began creating impressive meals for the family. Such early endeavors certainly paid off – and her family definitely has more of an appreciation for great food as a result of her efforts!
Chef 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, unable to resist the call of Europe, Chef Gold returned to France to help run the restaurant of a good friend. She 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, the same year she received the first of three nominations for James Beard Foundation “Best Chef: Midwest.” In 1999, Gold won!
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 much soul-searching, Gold decided to close 40 Sardines this year. She wants to be able to focus more fully on the business of cooking and creating dishes infused with incredible flavors, and working with Jamie Jamison and the staff at The American allows her to do just that. Debbie also wanted to be able to spend more time with her two beautiful daughters, Mischa and Sophie. For Debbie, the opportunity to return to The American Restaurant is a lot like coming home. She loves the restaurant, the founders, the vision and the staff – she couldn’t be more excited.
The American Restaurant is thrilled that Chef Gold has returned as the Executive Chef.
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.