Ike Frazee

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Chef Ike Frazee moved to Nevada County, in California’s Gold Country, when he was seven. His first kitchen job was at 12½ — helping out at a small French bistro at the request of a neighbor. Ike started out washing dishes and mopping floors, and found that being around professional cooking was love at first sight. He quit his paper route, graduated to simple food prep (washing lettuce and peeling prawns), and through junior and senior high school worked in many local restaurants, including Apple Fare, Nevada City Fish and Grill, and Cowboy Pizza, ending up at Peter Selaya’s California restaurant, where he learned many essentials of classical cooking. Chef Selaya was a huge influence on Ike’s practical skills and his commitment to using locally sourced ingredients.

After high school, Ike moved to San Francisco to attend the acclaimed California Culinary Academy, and then worked for several years in bakeries and restaurants around the Bay Area, including the Tassajara Bakery and Rock Hill Bake House. Back in Nevada County, he played a big part in helping open the New Moon Café with Peter Selaya and Buzz Crouch.

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In 2001, Ike and his wife Adrienne opened Ike’s Quarter Café, across the street from the New Moon. As Ike tells it: “The inspiration for this cuisine was sparked on our honeymoon in New Orleans. Eating those rich comforting dishes of the south, prepared with love and care, forever changed my feelings toward food. Our sole mission has always been to bring everyone together to eat in a better and tastier way. First, you eat real food, from clean local sources, properly cooked and spiced with love and flavor. Then “Magic in the Belly” happens: when the food is so good it turns into more than just nourishment, it changes your whole attitude from the inside and gives you a new, fresh outlook on life.”

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This tattoo by local artist Cory Norris says it all.  It shows me dancing from the fire into the frying pan…and back and forth… that way it doesn’t burn so bad!