Maestro Witte, in the kitchen with the sauce pot

Cooking with Pacific Leaders: Dean Peter Witte

How do you know that the campus culinary scene is heating up? Perhaps it is when the dean of University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music channels his inner Julia Child.

Dean Peter Witte and his wife Robin whipped up a tantalizing recipe of the famous chef’s beef bourguignon on Sept. 21 as part of the series Cooking with Pacific’s Leaders.

It was Child, after all, who once said, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients.”

Those watching saw the Wittes assemble the ingredients—beef, bacon, Burgundy, flour, mushrooms and more—into a hearty meal. The recipe also included rosemary.

“Pay attention, this is the green part of the meal,” Peter Witte said as Robin chopped the rosemary.

Through the cooking process, the Wittes talked about their love of food, their first great meal together and advice for young musicians.

Interspersed with the mouth-watering cooking exhibition was a bit of a comedy show from the dean:

“If this was my cooking show, it would be cereal and peanut butter toast.”

“Zoom should have a scent button. Not for everything, but for this. It smells pretty good.”

“And now we add the bacon we cooked at the beginning. We will have to eat edamame the rest of the week.”

Robin Witte, an accomplished musician, recalled the couple’s first “world-class” meal during their honeymoon in Maine.

“We have had lots of lovely meals together, but that one at the White Barn Inn stands out as our first,” she said. “It was a special night and I had never had a dining experience like that.”

“The White Barn Inn is where we first got our love for food,” Peter Witte said.

As they moved the beef dish from stove top to oven, both reflected on advice for young musicians.

“Learn to sight read,” Robin Witte said. “You never know when your next opportunity is going to come. Someone might get sick and you could get called in. Be ready.”

Peter Witte added three additional pieces of advice: record yourself performing, don’t be a diva and if you say you are going to do something, then do it.

The Wittes’ cooking exhibition was the third in the series, which will continue at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5, when President Christopher Callahan and his wife Jean invite you into their on-campus home for Stetson Chopped Salad, with tortoni for dessert.