Stirring things up with a ‘can do’ attitude

(ROCKWALL, TX – Nov. 11, 2015) Rockwall resident David White is passionate about a lot of things – community, family, politics, kids, and seniors. Elected to Rockwall City Council in 2011, David has served on the Airport Advisory Committee, Budget Committee, Hotel-Motel Tax Committee, and as liaison to the Youth Advisory Council. He is treasurer and precinct chair of the Rockwall County GOP Executive Committee and past president of the Rockwall County Republican Men’s Club. He is board president of Meals on Wheels Senior Services of Rockwall County.

The Rockwall High School graduate (1993) works for his family-owned, Rockwall-based business that specializes in commercial building automation and system integration for HVAC, lighting and access controls. He readily volunteers his time to help local charities and neighbors in need. He is a solution-oriented, hands-on kind of guy who speaks his mind and is not afraid to stir things up if it means making the world a better place.

Perhaps that’s why David is also at home in the kitchen.

That’s right – David’s “can-do” attitude extends to cooking and canning – and he’s even garnered top awards in the Canning Department of the State Fair of Texas Annual Creative Arts Competition.

David says he’s been in love with cooking ever since learning at the side of his older brother in his mother’s kitchen at the age of 13.

“I remember it was in this kitchen one night that my aunt was over, and she and Mom started discussing that I should become a chef,” David said. “I had never even thought of it before, never even considered it.”

At 14, David got his first job in a kitchen and worked there through high school. Then he worked in a couple more kitchens until he applied for a Chef’s Apprentice program and apprenticed for three years at the Dallas Petroleum Club, eventually becoming a certified chef. He eventually left the industry to work for his dad.

“I still cooked,” David said. “I love to cook, and cook all the time. But I started doing things that I never really got to do, like getting into hardcore barbecuing and that sort of thing, stuff that was way more advanced and diverse than what I was exposed to.”

One day while talking to his mom, the subject of canning came up. Intrigued, David bought a cheap canning set online and decided to experiment, making can after can of different jams, jellies, marmalades, preserves, and pickles.

“I had shelves just full of everything I was experimenting with,” he said. “It took me forever to get rid of it all.”

David entered his first State Fair competition in 2008, winning a few ribbons. He’s entered every year since, and had his best year in 2013 when he won ribbons for seven out of the ten items he entered.

This year, David entered ten items as he has each year (participants can only enter a max of ten items) including blackberry, cherry and red wine jellies, bread-and-butter and dill pickles, and peach and apple butters. He won 3rd place ribbons for his strawberry and grape jellies, and also ribbons for his peach butter and blackberry jelly.

Since David learned to cook in a diverse environment (from fast food to fine dining), he says he doesn’t have a particularly favorite dish and enjoys cooking just about everything. “I cook what I like to eat,” David said. “I like cooking Mexican food, Cajun food, barbecue – that’s probably my favorite thing to cook.”

In recent years David has had the chance to have his cooking services auctioned off during several premier events and charity fundraisers. “It’s a fun little thing to do,” he said. “I basically get to cook whatever I want, so I’ll usually try and find something expensive – but not ridiculous – and high quality, and I’ll make everything 100 percent from scratch. I’ll usually cook for around 8-10 people.”

He said during times when people will cook for him, they’ll often get nervous because they know that he’s an experienced chef. But David will only criticize the cooking skills of others when he’s asked.

“I get this all the time, people will say, ‘Oh I’m so nervous to cook for you because you’re going to criticize me,’” David said. “And I’ll say, ‘I’ll only criticize if you ask. If you want me to criticize I’ll be happy to tell you everything you’re doing wrong, but otherwise if it’s good, it’s good.’”

Look for David’s culinary skills to be auctioned off once again for a good cause, at the Rockwall Helping Hands Festival of Trees Gala on November 14.

Story and photo by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News staff writer. Editor Dawn Redig contributed to this article.

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