Cook has early food training
Bob had a food connection right from birth. The youngest child of Vincent and Carol Coulter, Bob and older brother and eight foster sisters grew up outside Perham, Minn., the home of Barrel O’ Fun potato chips.
His father and mother owned several different family businesses, he said, which included Lake Land Short Stop Café. It specialized in pizza and broasted chicken but offered the regular fare as well.
“I learned food safety early,” he said. “When a customer requests their eggs ‘snotty’ you put your faith in cleanliness and the reputation of your food vendors that they provide only pasteurized eggs,” he said.
He began working in the family’s café when he was old enough to hold a broom, clean the grill, and wash a sink full of dishes.
“There are no federal child labor laws which apply to family-owned businesses,” he said.
His parents often were on the move. After moving to St. Cloud, Bob fell in love with the community with the “small town” environment of 250,000 people.
“I loved the fact that you could be in the city and 10 minutes later you could be in the country,” he said.
When his mom and dad proposed leaving, he stood firm in his decision to remain there and finish high school. He followed through with legal papers, becoming emancipated at the age of 15.
He found a landlord who would rent to him with that status, he said. All the while he worked full-time at Boston Market and completed St. Cloud Tech High School in 1997 with a 3.9 GPA. He worked his way up from assistant manager to manager at Boston Market, and he loved it.
He had received his associate’s degree from St. Cloud Technical College with a major in construction and design with the intentions of becoming an architect.
“I always loved drawing and also loved people,” he said. “Architecture, I thought, would enable me to help make people’s dreams come true.”
However, he missed the interaction with people.
After Boston Market went into Chapter 11 to reorganize, Bob became part of the management of Labor Ready Staffing, a temporary staffing employment bureau. It differed, he said, in its approach to temporary staffing. He found the job rewarding-yet draining.
He found his calling as head chef at the Sauk Rapids Good Shepherd Community Center, which included a long-term care center and assisted living center.
“It gave me the ability to pay attention to the needs of the residents and have the contact with people whom I learned to love,” he said.
As the cost of living increased, Bob took a part-time job with Burger King. They became his surrogate family after his divorce, he said. With his extensive experience in food service, he soon became assistant manager and was assigned to the busiest Burger King franchise in downtown St. Cloud. Unbeknownst to him, he was being considered for the Mobridge facility.
“They wanted someone for the Mobridge facility who would be as comfortable on a typical day in a town with a population of 3,000”, he said, “as when the business quadruples as it does during a typical July 4th weekend with the Sitting Bull Stampede Rodeo running simultaneously with multiple fishing tournaments.”
When past manager Kayla Secker resigned, he was offered the position.
“I talked it over with my kids and they were excited for me,” he said. “I can travel back every weekend to St. Cloud to see my kids,” he said.
BOB COULTER’S RECIPES
Homemade Chicken Pot Pie
1 lb. boneless chicken breast
“real” salted butter (for browning chicken)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
half a medium sized onion (diced)
9 or 12-inch pie tin
2 sheets of piecrusts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown and season chicken to taste. (“I use coriander, paprika, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder.”) Dice and set aside. Mix the soups together and add the flour and starch together (the mix should be thick and hard to stir-depending on brand of soup-adjust the flour to thicken as needed). Mix in the frozen vegetables and onion to the mix (it will get even thicker). Set aside. Line the bottom of the pie tin with the piecrusts, making sure the edges flow over the tin by at least a half an inch. Set aside. Mix together the chicken and pie mixes and add to the pie tin. Place the other pie sheet on top of the pie you just put together and crimp the edges with a fork or with your thumb and forefinger, making sure it is sealed well). Cut venting slits in the top of the cover sheet to let steam rise out. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on oven. Remove from oven when golden brown and run a stick of butter over the lid to cover with a golden glaze. Let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting and enjoying.
Chick ‘N of Quartered Chicken
5 pieces of quarter chicken
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
2 cups white rice (uncooked)
1 can milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dredge chicken in a mixture of flour and such seasonings as salt, pepper, seasoned salt, Cajun seasonings, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper seasonings, tarragon, and cumin. Bake in oven on a pan that is cover with aluminum foil and oiled for 1 hour. Cook rice and have ready in greased 9-inch by 13-inch pan for when chicken is done. Mix soups and milk in bowl and season with seasonings, being careful for a little goes a long ways. Remove chicken from oven and place on rice, sprinkling paprika over chicken. Cover chicken and rice with soup mix and continue to cook in oven for 30 minutes. Remove and let rest for 30 minutes and enjoy.
Manly Man Chili
(“A one-pot recipe that any man can do.”)
2 lbs. browned ground beef
1 cup chili powder
2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced jalapeños
1/2 cup of green peppers (diced)
1/2 cup red peppers (diced)
2 cans of refried beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can of Bush’s baked beans
3 stalks diced celery
4 tomatoes (diced)
2 cans tomato paste
2 bottles of beer
1/4 cup cumin
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Cajun seasonings
1/4 cup black pepper
1 qt. water
Combine all into a stockpot and simmer for 4 hours on low heat. Enjoy! (A glass of milk is a good idea to keep handy!”)