DEER ISLE — Roger Olsen traces his keen interest in food, especially cheese, back to his youth and the eight years he lived with his family in Europe.He attended grades six through nine in Switzerland, and the affection he acquired for Swiss food as a junior-high student would guide much of his future.
“Cheese and bread were the two most memorable things,” he said in a recent interview at his home in South Deer Isle. “There was so much of it and such good quality everywhere.”
His appreciation for the fine food dishes he encountered in Europe led him to the kitchen, where he began preparing simple meals as a teen.
“They were simple things, pasta dishes, nothing too ambitious,” he said.
The seed had been planted, however, and as a high school student back in the States, Olsen took his first job in a restaurant. He moved through the ranks: dishwasher, busboy and eventually got to be a cook.
“That’s when I decided I wanted to go to culinary school,” he said.
He graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a degree in culinary arts in 1986 and has worked in the food business ever since.
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