Our Culinary Team
David C. Skinner
Chef Skinner’s path to becoming the chef and restaurateur he is today involves a circuitous journey. David’s love of food began at the early age of four when he asked his grandmother “Mimi” a pastry chef to make him a carousel cake for his birthday.
By the age of seven Mimi had taught him the basics of cooking – temperature, time, salt, and passion. She instilled in him the importance of cooking with fresh ingredients and that growing your own vegetables makes the dish even that much better.
At age 12 she gave David his first knife, a Sabatier 8” chef knife along with Julia Child’s two volume set “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. Within two years David had completed all of the recipes and was ready for the next challenge. That challenge came a few years later when he was able to open his own restaurant called La Vie en Rose (after the Edith Pilaf song), in the back of his grandmother’s gourmet cooking store. David would leave school early each day under the DECA program and prepare for evening service. The small space only housed 10 tables but it was a great learning experience and set the stage for future culinary endeavors.
David and Julia Child
After graduating high school David went on to Oklahoma State University where he majored in Finance and Economics. But the lure of food was too great and after one very late night with a couple of professors he decided to open another restaurant while still in school. To say that David is a bit of an overachiever is like saying the French like wine.
So in 1985 Christopher’s on Washington was opened. By this time David was making frequent trips to California experiencing the new California cuisine at restaurants like Chez Panisse. Christopher’s on Washington featured French infused California cuisine and became a huge success and fine dining destination in a landscape of burgers and beer. David helped to pioneer the use of "farm fresh" ingredients in restaurants and contracted with local farmers for produce and proteins. It was at this time that David started to become known as “Christopher” after the restaurant.
Upon graduation David had a real dilemma, continue working the restaurant or use his new degree and go into a different profession. Always up to a challenge he decided to pursue a career in commodity trading. A few years later he was lured into a career with Conoco and eventually built one of the worlds largest energy focused strategy firms. Along the way he wrote several best selling decision-making text books, became an Adjunct professor at Rice University, and helped with a series of business start-ups.
While not cooking professionally over the last two decades he never let his skills or interest dwindle. His dinner parties were legendary and often featured dishes and ingredients he picked up while traveling the world on business. In 2006 he purchased the eculent building along with a bed and breakfast and a year later purchased a local winery. In 2011 he built a new commercial winery, Clear Creek, and started plans for eculent’s menu and design. By the spring of 2014 David was ready to embark on a new journey. David’s passion, an attention to detail, and a love of food has led to his ultimate creation…eculent.
Chef de Cuisine
Stacy is more than just another chef as she is Chef Skinner’s sounding board or maybe more appropriately grounding board for ideas. While she has never said no to an idea she often helps to tame the more crazy ideas and definitely puts her finger print on many of the dishes at eculent. What more is there to say about Stacy?
A simple dish of 100 ingredients.
A purposeful meeting that solidified Chef Skinner’s culinary desires.
Many of our courses use custom designed plate ware made by our incredible potter John Delafield.