Chef JD Thomas


Chef J.D. Thomas, grew up in San Diego in a family that appreciated good food. He was exposed to a wide array of cuisines at a young age and wholeheartedly participated in the cooking for family and friends during his early years. Many travels drew Chef Thomas into the world of flavor and cuisine.

Chef Thomas has worked in restaurants since the age of 14. After developing his family’s restaurants in Seattle, he was awarded a 3-star rating from Seattle’s Travel Magazine “Places Rated Northwest” for his flavorful South-American food. Leaving the restaurants behind in 1988, he attended culinary school in Portland. He earned the Valedictorian Award of his class at Western Culinary Institute while also working as a Private Chef for the Archdiocese of Portland and Louisiana Pacific Corporation. From there, Chef Thomas worked in R&D for a 30 million dollar, fresh-food manufacturing company, an Executive Chef for catering outlets, and also as a private Chef.

​He also brought his sense of humor and knowledge of culinary history to radio for over five years and has been a Culinary Educator for over 16 years. He is a proud member of the Chef’s de Cuisine Society of Oregon and was elected American Culinary Federation’s “Chef of the Year” in 2011 for the Northwest Chapter. Chef Thomas is currently Lead Instructor, Culinary Events Director, and Manager of Northwest Culinary Institute in Vancouver, WA.


Jared Bassett


As the grandson of a chef, Jared Bassett discovered early his love for food and cooking. At age thirteen, Jared’s first job was at a New York-style pizza restaurant in Portland, OR. Upon graduating high school, Jared enlisted in the United States Army, where he received his first culinary training. During his six years in the Army, Jared’s mess section won the “Connelly Award” four years in a row for the best Army kitchen in the Nation. While enlisted, he received several meritorious service awards.

​Jared also received formal training at Western Culinary Institute. Since graduating, he has worked in a variety of Portland restaurants including Piccolo Mondo, Jakes Famous Crawfish, Ringside West, and Newport Bay Company. Ringside West won the prestigious “James Beard Award” while he was the Chef. While at Newport Bay, Jared was a corporate trainer and helped open some new locations, training all cooks.

With over thirty years of line cooking, training, and Chef experience, Jared is enthusiastic about being a part of Northwest Culinary Institute, where he can pass on his knowledge to upcoming Chefs. In 2014, Jared took two teams of students to the US Army recipe revision competition at Fort Lewis and took first and second place.

Classes STARTING Soon!