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Executive Chef Steven Walk’s love of kitchens and food didn’t begin with a flambé or whipping up a béarnaise sauce. Well, it may have begun with those items, but on the other end. He wasn’t carefully laying them out on plates. Instead, he was scraping off the unfinished remnants.

At 13, Walk got his first job in a restaurant, minimum wage and a meal, washing dishes at a steakhouse in his home town of Alliance, Ohio. Moving from the dish room to the line, he stayed with the restaurant from junior high into high school, far more interested in the dynamics of food service than the demands of public school. From that time on, his mind was on broilers, not biology, focusing on entrees, not English lit.

“At that age the only thing I knew was that I hated school and did not want to go to college,” he said. “But, I really enjoyed cooking, so for my junior and seniors years of high school, I was able to study culinary arts and restaurant management.”

There he was, his youth marked with an aversion to school, yet winding up a faculty member at a major university. “I’m still doing what I love,” he said. “And now I’m looking forward to life at the Coeur d’Alene Casino.”

Sounds good. Let’s eat.