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Living the dream: A journey from Scotland

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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - They say the way to someone's heart is through their stomach. If you ask the head chef at Cascio's Tavern over in West Monroe, he'll say it's true. An acclaimed chef in Scotland, he found his way to the states through love.

Simon Brown loves to experiment with food and test his limits.

"It's like a construction site. It's almost like a science because 95 percent of people eat with their eyes. So when you see something, you need to think, I can put something heavy over here but something light over here and maybe something in the middle. It's definitely a piece of art, but it's like a construction site. You need to know where to put things proper," Simon said.  

Simon's life in the kitchen began at 14, when he took a job at a local restaurant near his home in Dundee, Scotland.

"I washed the dishes and I watched the chef and I was amazed. Even slicing a cucumber, I was like that is amazing," Simon said.   

His love of food took him all over Scotland, working in several restaurants and honing his skills as a chef. He eventually landed a job in Glasgow.

 "I was sous chef then I moved to head chef in a restaurant.  We won second best restaurant in Scotland and that's where I won young Scottish chef of the year 2008," Simon said.  

 It was also his job in Glasgow that led him to the states, for love.

 "We had a mutual friend. Our mutual friend was out of town and she left Jen a note saying one of my friends has a car, he'll show you around. I was the guy with the car," Simon said.  

 His wife, Jennifer Kadar Brown is a native to West Monroe. After her graduates studies in Scotland ended, she moved back and Simon followed.

He took a job at Restaurant Cotton under Chef Cory Bahr. Now he is the head chef at Cascio's Tavern in West Monroe.

Simon said one highlight of his career was being in the kitchen with a Louisiana cooking legend.

 "I was cooking alongside John Folse in Revolution, in New Orleans. And cooking along him was absolutely amazing," Simon said.  

 Brown said he would eventually like to open his own restaurant. But for now, he plans to enter the King of Louisiana Seafood contest this summer, and keep pursuing the American dream.

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