Cooking Together

Brian Hermanson learned to cook at his grandmother, Maxime Hermanson’s, side.

“She would say to try this, try that, there’s no sense in measuring,” he said.

Even though he has left our area, many friends and local people are still in touch with him due to social media and family ties. It is because of the yummy food pictures that he places on Facebook that I feature him today and that most of what he cooks is an original recipe, but he is known far more for his musical talent than his excellent cooking ability. His resume is amazing for any person, but especially so considering he is only in his mid-30s.

“I actually work about an 18-hour day,” said the Randolph native. “I wake up every morning and get my wife going by making her breakfast and lunch. Her schedule is very intense. She leaves between 5-5:30 a.m. and gets home between 10-10:30 p.m. I do a lot of teaching. I do a lot of playing and I have a business of making clarinet reeds and clarinet barrels. It’s fascinating for me to meet musicians from around the world.

“I am playing in a pop band, which I thought I’d never do. The group is called ‘Sirius B,’ an absurdist gypsy folk funk band based in Asheville, N.C. They are a really creative bunch of people. The audience really loves it and it is a lot of fun.”

Even though his band is based in North Carolina, he is currently living in Nashville, Tenn., while his wife studies at Vanderbilt University and the couple has a home in downtown Atlanta, Ga., that is for sale.

The musician teaches clarinet and does reed-making workshops.

“I developed a teaching program over Skype so I can be anywhere,” he said. “It makes for a bit of flexibility, but I do a lot of in-person teaching and private lessons. I do a fair amount of going to universities and colleges presenting workshops on reed-making and clarinets in general.”

The musician will be teaching clarinet and chamber music at Brevard College School of Music in Brevard, N.C., when school resumes in August. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in clarinet performance from Eastman School of Music in Rochester and has several credits toward his master of music in clarinet performance through Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas.

He has served as executive director of both the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and San Luis Obispo (California) Symphony. He was an adjunct clarinet teacher at California Polytechnic State University and an adjunct reed-making instructor at Western Carolina University.

He works closely with clarinetists in the United States, Europe and Asia to develop reeds specifically tailored to their needs as artists.

Hermanson is married to Alice Ann Hermanson, who was a middle school orchestra director in Georgia until her husband’s job took them to California. She is studying to be a family nurse practitioner and mid-wife in the accelerated program at Vanderbilt University where she will graduate in three years. He grew up in Randolph and graduated from Randolph Central School. He is the son of Frank (Bill) and Karen Hermanson, who reside in Florida, but are soon moving to North Carolina or Virginia to be closer to their children.

“The pizza recipe has been a fun one because about 2 years ago we had been trying to figure out how we could connect and came up with a Sunday night pizza night,” he said. “We started with a basic pizza dough recipe, and we’ve tweaked it from there. It is crunchy on the outside and like a doughnut on the inside. The gingersnap recipe was my great-great-grandmother’s recipe on my father’s side. It’s not as sugary as you’d normally expect, but boy is it good.

“My wife and I love tahini – particularly in salad dressings. Since we make as much as we can of what we eat, we started making this dressing a couple of years ago.”

When speaking of the eggplant chips recipe, he said, “There’s nothing original in this one. They just taste good and people seem to always like them.”

“The tomato basil pasta is a favorite lately as our tomatoes are just becoming ripe,” he said. “It’s easy and tastes great. You can add a little chili pepper to the mix if you like for a little added kick. It doesn’t really heat up the kitchen which is a wonderful side benefit.”

He says the lemon frozen yogurt recipe “is to die for – though not ours at all. We got this from an episode of the ‘Splendid Table’ with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. It’s amazing.”