“community spot to eat at”
Kelley & Mitch Cook have a good thing going here at the Dakota Cafe. The husband-and-wife team started this business in order to spend more time with each other and it shows; their smooth synergy is felt by every customer and employee. Kelley's passion for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen has been a life-long love affair. For several years she taught as a culinary arts instructor for a vocational school that focused on teens who struggled in traditional high schools. The experience was tough but rewarding. "We had a restaurant that the community ate at. The students made dinner for them, cooked for the school, developed menus and recipes. The whole idea behind it was to help these kids obtain the skills they would need to get a job or go to culinary school." In 1992 Kelley enrolled in culinary school at Seattle Community College. "I'd always loved food, and wanted to do more than just follow a recipe." After graduation she spent a year working as a sous chef at an Italian restaurant. It was in the 1990s Kelley began exploring her talents as a chef and has come to learn that she is spontaneous, flexible, and eclectic. "I'm good at combining unusual elements, and I'm not one to focus on one type of cooking. I can serve a complex rack of lamb, and then immediately turn around and make a simple chicken. I can also transform a recipe into a low-fat version and still make it taste sinfully good." Mitch earned a degree in economics from Central Washington University. His strong business background has helped the restaurant thrive, and he too learned a lot about the food industry while running the catering business with Kelley. What inspires Mitch is the flexibility of running a restaurant in a smaller city. His career is fulfilling, and it also gives him daily time with Kelley, his son and daughter, and provides close interaction with the community. "It allows me to be with our children, Cody and Cheyenne. I can volunteer, be a soccer coach, and work with my wife. I would not be in this business if I didn't work with her." The couple has created a system that works with each other's talents. While Kelley creates delightful dishes in the kitchen, Mitch interacts with customers and employees. When not at work, they both actively volunteer, and focus on their children.
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- Mon, Tue: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Wed - Sat: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
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