James P DeWan
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About James P DeWan
James P. DeWan is a chef, award-winning culinary instructor and award-winning food writer, but his path to the culinary world was nothing if not circuitous. After completing a Master of Divinity degree at Chicago Theological Seminary, he spent the better part of two decades playing music, as an accompanist to some of the world’s greatest Irish traditional musicians on recordings and stages across the U.S. and Europe, as a staff songwriter for the Acuff-Rose Publishing Company of Nashville (home to Hank Williams, the Everly Brothers and Kenny Chesney), and as an instructor on the faculty of the Old Town School of Folk Music.
Always a passionate and self-taught home cook, he turned a one-off invitation to contribute to the Chicago Tribune into a regular presence in that paper’s Good Eating section as well as numerous other local and national publications, including Plate Magazine, North Shore Magazine and Restaurants and Institutions.
As his presence on the culinary scene grew, he earned a degree in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC). Before long, he put his twenty years teaching experience to use, returning to CHIC, first as a writing instructor, and later on the culinary faculty. Since 2008 he’s served on the faculty of Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts, rated one of the top 10 culinary programs in the country. He was the recipient of that school’s 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award.
His Chicago Tribune column, Prep School, now in its tenth year, offers in-depth and lighthearted instruction in classic culinary methods and techniques. A collection of his columns were published in ebook form in the fall of 2012, where it reached the #1 position on Amazon’s Top 100 Professional Cooking chart. A hardcover edition was published in 2013.
He is also the author, with Jeffrey Elliot, of The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques and Care (Robert Rose Publishing, 2010).
DeWan lives on Chicago’s northwest side with his lovely wife and two excellent children.