My name is Shanna Follansbee and I am the chef & owner of Fine Dining Solutions. Originally from Selah, a very small town in Washington State, I grew up in the wine and farming country of the Yakima Valley. I spent much of my time on the family farm, where my mother and grandmothers gave me my first cooking lessons through apple & cherry pies (rainer cherries are my favorite!), with the fresh fruit from our family orchards.
After studying international economics at the University of Washington, I made my home in the DC Metro region where I pursued a culinary education at L’Academie de Cuisine, the premier fine-dining culinary school in the Mid-Atlantic region, graduating with honors. Outside of my program, I completed nearly 500 work-study hours at L’Academie de Cuisine, catering private events and assisting recreational classes.
The traditional french culinary techniques, accompanied with my small town work ethic, opened the kitchen doors for me to work in Washington, DC’s most elegant and exclusive restaurants.
Straight out of school, I started cooking at Butterfield 9 (voted one of the “100 Best Restaurants in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler) and its sister restaurant New Heights. Honing my skills, I moved on to Maestro at the Ritz-Carlton/Tysons Corner, Fabioio Trabocchi’s (he has too many James Beard & other awards to mention) first restaurant in the area that quickly became the most exclusive reservation in town. It wasn’t long before I was lured away by Chef Cathal Armstrong to open Restaurant Eve, the dominant fine-dining restaurant in Virginia (a restaurant where critics and guests can agree).
I love the restaurant industry, but not necessarily the Hell’s Kitchen lifestyle (yes, the show is completely realistic) and 14 hour days, 6 days a week wasn’t sustaining the active lifestyle I craved (read more about my story on Active Life DC). Therefore I stepped out of the restaurant scene and started my private chef service, Fine Dining Solutions, an opportunity to bring my ingredient knowledge and technical skill into the daily lives of my clients:
Creating a live-out, private chef service that only prepares fresh, simple and clean dishes, completely personalized to the individual client, all in the privacy of their home.
Over the years, I served hundreds of clients in their homes, catering to the individual or the family, sharing the value of high quality, simple dishes — more specifically, working within their dietary restrictions or simply their personal preferences. For a few years, I was even contracted by Williams-Sonoma to teach (hundreds!) of public cooking classes in their Northern Virginia stores in Old Town (Alexandria), Fair Oaks Mall (Fairfax) and Tysons Corner Galleria Mall (Tysons Corner).
It was the “regulars” in these Williams-Sonoma cooking classes that inspired me to write a cookbook; because of their encouragement and support, the book was an immense success and still available for purchase on Amazon.com: Fine Dining Solutions: Weeknight Dinners (2008).
The business model I’ve created for my clients is truly unique (#keepaustinweird). Completely individualized to each and every client and all prepared in the privacy of your home.
Please feel free to contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions you may have. I am always happy to work with you in creating the service that fits the needs of your lifestyle here in #atx.