Kitchen Window: Meet Chef Stacia Dougherty, Lion Bridge Brewing Company

Stacia Dougherty is the executive chef at Lion Bridge Brewing Company, 59 16th Avenue SW, in Czech Village in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. Dougherty is a Waukon, Iowa, native and a Kirkwood culinary program alum. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

The chef: Stacia Dougherty, 27, of Cedar Rapids

The place: Lion Bridge Brewing Company, 59 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids

Q: What do you do?

A: I’m the executive chef. I oversee specials and write menu changes and manage the kitchen. I’ve been in this role almost two years.

Q: What’s your background in the food industry?

A: I went to culinary school at Kirkwood Community College. I worked at the restaurant at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center for a while. I worked at NewBo Alehouse when it was still open, and I filled in at Lion Bridge under former executive chef Daniel Dennis. And now I’m here.

Q: Where can we find you when you’re not in the kitchen? Any hobbies besides cooking?

A: I like to check out other restaurants in town. I’m into kickboxing, which is fun.

Q: Are there any parallels between kickboxing and cooking?

A: Focus and perseverance, especially when it gets busy. You’ve just got to keep going.

Q: How did you get into cooking?

A: Growing up, I cooked with my grandma. I always really liked cooking. But I was under the impression you had to go to Minneapolis or Chicago to an expensive school to do that as a career. I was taking classes at Coe ... when I found out Kirkwood had an amazing program. I found out my dream could become a reality.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the job?

A: The reaction from the people that come in and enjoy the food and seeing how much they appreciate it and hearing feedback.

Q: Any particular challenges of the job?

A: You can go through creative lulls. It’s definitely a lot of work and a lot of time, but if it’s something you love to do, it’s not that bad at all.

Q: Do you have a signature dish?

A: I don’t know that I have a signature dish yet, but I love making sauces and soups and jams and pickles.

Q: What’s your favorite vegetable to pickle?

A: Probably beets. They’re the best.

Q: Do you have a cooking tip for readers?

A: Don’t be scared to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. I had very little experience cooking vegetarian meals growing up, and I find I actually enjoy it now. I enjoy the challenge.

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