Carrie Eagle Talks 'Chopped', Cooking, and Running a Team
Executive chef Carrie Eagle isn’t new to the local culinary field.
She helped to start JC’s New York Pizza Department, has worked at Season’s, Zinc and Savoy, worked as an executive chef for the catering company Taste and opened Desert Fish. She’s participated in a number of local culinary challenges and fundraisers. Eagle comes across as approachable, honest, and engaging.
Eagle, who was featured on and won Food Network’s “Chopped,” is executive chef at North Valley favorite, Farm & Table.
A big part of Farm & Table’s mission is to create healthful, nutritional, beautiful food from local products. In fact, during the summer, 80 percent of the menu comes from local farms. She said working with local farmers is one of her favorite things about working there.
“We’ve got really dynamic, smart, committed farmers in the community,” Eagle said. “I’ve got a really great team.”
Eagle said one of the moments that shaped her love of cooking was cooking comfort food for the all-female band, Hazeldine.
“When Dingo bar was in full swing, I got the chance to live and work with these three drop-dead-gorgeous and artistic women,” Eagle said. “There’s a soul connection. Making that comfort food for people who are constantly on the move; it lit a fire inside me.”
She compares cooking food to writing a song, where it just lands with someone. What stuck with her was the dual-sided heartfelt gratification and moments of connection that comes from sharing food. She learned to cook things like eggplant parmesan and green chile stew – things she still puts on her menus today.
Eagle reminisced, “[In Iowa] I had one of those grandmothers who grew roses and canned her own vegetables. We always had a simple family dinner at Grandma Eagle’s house. It wasn’t until college that I had fine dining.”
Eagle’s other grandmother, who lives in Belen, makes taquitos from scratch and old school rustic New Mexican food.
When asked about her experience on “Chopped,” Eagle said that in every round “I believed that I put up the losing dish.”
Eagle felt good about her time on “Chopped,” saying that during experiences like that, the only thing left to do is to deliver under that pressure. She compared it to experiences in sports where athletes are under pressure to achieve.
“Every time, it’s made me a better person.”