Perry Street Brewing Chef, Alisha Van Guilder, did not start her journey as a budding young child who always dreamt of becoming a chef. Her journey was more practical. She did, however, grow up watching in amazement as her talented grandmother would create elaborately perfect meals for the family with such ease. She was a natural in the Kitchen and Alisha was inspired by the way she would so seamlessly craft dish after dish, she even had a way to make ketchup and cheese toast that would wow (Van Guilder’s favorite childhood snack). When her grandmother passed away, Chef Alisha found her interest in cooking and wanted to carry on her grandmothers skills in her own life. Alisha headed to college in Boise then came home and worked out of Freeman High School, then went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland. It was there that she learned the techniques and fundamental of how to cook and run a kitchen. Her goal in going to culinary school was to open a shop and teach people how to cook. She loved to teach and wanted to combine that will her skills she learned in culinary school. Her original goal was to educate people on basic cooking skills like basting turkey or making a simple sauce. After culinary school, Chef Alisha completed a required externship at cooking school called “Hip Cooks” in Portland doing prep. Her experience at Hip Cooks was immensely different than what she learned in culinary school. Instead of learning the classical techniques, she was taught how to save ingredients in the kitchen and other practical tips and tricks. The creator of Hip Cooks, Monika Reti, is who really inspired Alisha to be a girl boss. Once she completed her externship, Alisha headed back home to Spokane and worked at a couple places around town before ended up at Perry Street Brewing. They opened their kitchen about 3 years ago and she hasn’t looked back!
What is your favorite cooking show?
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Is there a chef you admire the most? Why?
“Tony Brown at Ruins. I admire the way he moves from cuisine to cuisine and crushes every one of them.”
What set of skills or characteristics do you have that you think set you apart?
“At Perry Street Brewing, we are very limited by the size of our kitchen.” It is essentially a two person space. Everything Alisha does has to fit into the mold of what she can’t do in her space. She also attributes a lot of her success to her team of “girl bosses”. The owners at PSB trust her to do her thing and encourage her to be creative which gives her opportunity to try new things and grow. They are supportive of her and her personal life and family. She is in a great place that lets her foster her creativity.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Read, ride her bike with her husband, play with their two dogs, go to the lake. All the fun “outdoorsy” stuff.
Where do you like to eat around Spokane?
Ruins and Fleur De Sel.
Do you have a signature dish?
Anything visually appealing. She was always taught from her grandma that “you eat with your eyes first”. Your senses are so important to the overall experience. (If you have seen many of her dishes, you know she firmly believes this. I’m partial to the cheese plate).
What ingredients do you like to work with?
Local, whenever possible. Perry Street Brewing works with Linc Foods. She loves to get to know the farmers because “it teaches you to have respect for the ingredients”. During the Summer months, the kitchen staff at PSB head to farmers market for many of their ingredients.
Is there anything exciting happening at PSB?
On Dec 11th, PSB is hosting their “Winter Jubilee Beer Dinner with Casper Fry”. Tickets are $65 including tax and gratuity. Course 1 will be served at PSB followed by a tour of the brewery. Attendees will then head down the street to Casper Fry to finish the rest of their evening.
What is your favorite thing on the menu at your restaurant?
Porchetta: It’s a house-cured pork belly roasted and fried crispy. Paired with cherry compote, mustard seed caviar, and herbed goat cheese drizzled with honey. This nontraditional take on porchetta is one of their most time intensive dishes to create, but Chef Alisha says “it is so worth it.”
What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
Warren G – Regulate ft. Nate Dogg
You’re on death row, what would your last meal be?
Ike’s Vietnamese fish sauce wings from Pok Pok in Portland and their spicy boar collar that comes with mustard greens under shaved ice.
If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
- Burts Bee’s Chapstick
- Book (historical fiction)
- “Hmnnn…. I need something practical… Matches”
What is your favorite cereal? You can tell a lot about a person based on their favorite cereal…
“Golden Grahams because they are delicious when crunchy and delicious when soggy.”