Jackie Dodart

Chef de Cuisine and the Heart and Soul of Harmons Santa Clara Cooking School

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.”– Craig Claiborne, food journalist

Jackie Dodart, head chef at Harmons Cooking School in Santa Clara, and a St. George resident, has had a love affair with cooking from an early age, and intuitively she knew someday she would travel the globe to discover specialty dishes from countless cultures— “cuisine to tantalize the senses,” as she describes it.

On Becoming a Chef

Dodart dreamed of studying with world-renowned chefs in Europe, Asia, and America, as well as staying on the forefront of food industry trends for culinary professionals. She began her connoisseur-cookery journey by participating in programs offered by local colleges in Santa Barbara, her before-St. George home, and the Culinary Arts Institute in Las Vegas. She studied with master chefs, including Rudi Sodamin of Holland America Line, Joanne Weir of the Veneto Cooking School in Italy, Sompon and Elizabeth Nabnian of the Chiang Mai Cookery School in Thailand, and many others.

Later, Dodart returned to Thailand and studied with Chef Nooror of the Blue Elephant Cooking School. In fact, Dodart was Nooror’s special guest at the governor’s palace in Phuket where she served a 20-course meal! Chef Nooror’s products are marketed in Harmons under the Blue Elephant label.

A Cooking School in the Days of COVID

 COVID is on the wane, but some are curious how a cooking school operated in a COVID-19 world.Thanks to video conferencing technology, Dodart and her team of chefs invited participants to join a Zoom session. She published the menu online and provided chef-prepared kits for participants to pick up at their Santa Clara Harmons. Each seat purchased included a kit with all the ingredients needed to create the recipes and was built for two guests to enjoy. According to Dodart, participants were delighted by the socialization feature of this creative activity.

Winner of Utah’s Best of State Awards

Dodart has received praise as the non plus ultra of gourmet taste and grace as evidenced by winning Utah’s Best of State Award five consecutive years in the category of Food and Beverage Service Education for the Santa Clara Harmons Cooking School. The Best of State judges look for individuals, businesses, and organizations that are creative, and innovative and contribute to a better quality of life in Utah.

Indeed, as Dodart follows her dreams, love seems to be the driving passion in her culinary accomplishments. In her own words: “I have found great satisfaction sharing what I have learned over the years and teaching the concepts I have embraced from my own educational experiences. I love what I do.”

Great chefs have a few basics to create the meals people love to crave. Peek inside Jackie’s pantry to see what she has on hand to turn a good meal into a fabulous one: Kosher salt, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemons, anchovy paste, curry and Dijon mustard; from her garden: fresh sage, rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme and mint to add vibrancy and aroma to everything from drinks to entrees to desserts.

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