Sous Chef / Pastry Chef
Christine Johanson joins us as Sous Chef and pastry chef after 8 years of working in some of the top kitchens in the world. Upon receiving a traditional French culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, Christine was mentored by the James Beard award-winning chef Roland Passot at La Folie, a cornerstone of French cuisine in the Bay Area for 30 over years. At La Folie, Christine worked several stations in savory as well as serving as their Pastry Chef.
Following her time with Chef Passot, Christine joined the pastry team at Madera, a 1-Michelin star restaurant at the Rosewood Hotel in Palo Alto. There she built upon her pastry skills and trained in their chocolate program.
After more than a year with Madera, Christine joined the two-Michelin-star restaurant Acquerello under Executive Chef/Owner Suzette Gresham, winner of the Antonin Careme medal. Under Chef Suzette’s guidance, Christine added Northern Italian cuisine to her knowledge base, and acquired another true mentor who helped her focus on her core beliefs of commitment, precision, and training as central tenants of kitchen leadership. Christine continued to work at Acquerello throughout the pandemic, dedicating nearly three years of rotating through each station in the kitchen as a Tournant, including a stint as their Pasta Maker.
Christine’s formative experiences stretch further back into her childhood in Maine, where she experienced food production first hand at various family-run farms in her local community before receiving a formal education in Environmental Science. It was an experience which provided her with a deep knowledge and appreciation of sourcing responsible ingredients and fresh produce that she would use as a chef later in life.
Christine was inspired to join Chez TJ by chef Christopher Lemerand and his culinary vision, as well as the beautiful gardens on the property, bringing her back to her farm-to-table roots. At Chez TJ, Christine serves as both Sous Chef and Pastry Chef, using her broad range of culinary experience and abilities to craft an innovative, taste-driven pastry experience. Christine believes in continuous evolution and instills every dish with a healthy blend of innovation and tradition that plays out as a narrative on the plate.
Outside of her professional life, Christine is an amateur photographer who has spent time shooting with National Geographic in the Atacama desert in Chile as well as formerly running the digital arts program at the Maine Photographic Workshops. She enjoys posting beautiful photos of nature and her culinary creations on her Instagram page.