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Young entrepreneur tastes success

Jake Tanner, 18, writes cookbook with emphasis on California cuisine

Posted: December 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Jake Tanner autographs his cookbook at an appearance at Barnes & Noble in Valencia.

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The odds of meeting a teen who wrote a cookbook at age 17, and raised the money himself to self-publish his book are most likely not very high.

But Jake Tanner, of Valencia, did just that.

“Stick It In Your Pie Hole” is a cookbook of Tanner’s original recipes that includes a wide range of recipes — from shrimp ceviche to poached pears.

In addition to creating all the recipes Tanner also took all the photos that illustrate each recipe.

Tanner, now 18 and a freshman at Loyola Marymount University, began cooking at a very young age.

“I actually started cooking when I was 5,” said Tanner. “We would go to Kisho Japanese Restaurant and they would cook the food right in front of you. They would twirl the knives and the spatulas — twirling knives is fascinating to any 5-year-old.”

“I think he might have started cooking even before age 5,” his mother Janus Tanner said. “He always had the desire to get in with the gadgets and create. I used to call him the gadget boy.”

Janus Tanner said it is hard to chose her favorite recipe among the dozens in her son’s cookbook.

“He’s far surpassed my cooking capabilities,” she said. “I love the lemon-garlic chicken — that is delicious and I absolutely love the shrimp ceviche.”

Tanner said the first thing he cooked was fried rice. He started reading cookbooks to learn more about cooking.

At age 10 during a family vacation in Europe he took his first cooking classes.

He took a few classes from Paulette Mitchell who has written 13 cookbooks of quick-to-prepare recipes.

“She’s really a great person and I’m still in contact with her,” he said.

At age 11 he began an internship at Tournament Players Club with Executive Chef Samson Francois.

Tanner dedicated his cookbook to family members and to Francois.

The dedication reads: “To Chef Samson Francois, who took me under his wing and gave me the opportunities necessary to develop my career. Without him I would have missed the formal training I needed to write this book.”

“The funny thing is that Samson isn’t even aware that the book exists,” said Tanner.

Tanner, who is majoring in entrepreneurship, is making the rounds selling his cookbook at Barnes & Noble where he recently hosted a book signing and the Santa Clarita Street Fair at College of the Canyons.

Tanner describes his cookbook as having “easy to make, healthful recipes prepared in a unique and flavorful way.”

“These are healthful recipes, but they aren’t bland,” Tanner said. “These are recipes featuring fresh, wholesome ingredients.”

Tanner attended Stevenson Ranch Elementary School, Rancho Pico Junior High School and graduated in June from William S. Hart High School in Newhall.

To raise the funds necessary to publish his cookbook Tanner started a company to sell personalized pens.

As a young entrepreneur Tanner also wants to sell his own line of cookware and cutlery.

“When I think of an idea I start right away,” he said. “I have some prototypes, but I’ve put the cookware and cutlery on hold until I establish myself with the public with my cookbook.”

Tanner published his cookbook through a Valencia company, Bang Printing.

“This is a product produced completely in the Santa Clarita Valley, from A to Z,” he said.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of his book will benefit food charities in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“I am very into giving back,” Tanner said. “I want to become successful so that I’ll have the resources to be able to continue to give back.”

To purchase “Stick It In Your Pie Hole” visit The cookbook is $25 and a portion of the proceeds are donated to food charities.



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