Dame du Jour: Jennifer Wolfe Webb

By Maria Isabella, Interview by Donita Anderson
Jennifer Wolfe Webb, director of The Cucina at Gervasi Vineyard in Canton, developed her early love of all things food through her mother, and then later through Zona Spray. In fact, Jennifer received her culinary training at Zona’s eponymous cooking school after having earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English. After earning her cooking school diploma, she also went on to receive an MA in Library Information Science, which she uses in her outside consulting work for food and food service businesses.
Jennifer’s proudest professional accomplishment to date has been putting together the brand new Cunica culinary school and assembling an impressive group of independent culinary instructors. A perk that comes from her association with this caliber of gastronomic venture is the people she comes into contact with. For example, when a visiting celebrity chef from Italy visited her home, with almost no time to prepare, Jennifer whipped up pizza appetizers and Philadelphia ice cream. Instructors from the Cucina brought the rest, and it was a fantastic evening of culinary delights and impromptu entertainment. “Most of the entertaining I do now happens on the spur of the moment,” admits Jennifer, “and is much less elaborate than the entertaining I did when I was less busy professionally.”
Of all the places Jennifer has eaten throughout her travels, her favorite is Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri (her hometown). She orders their burnt ends every time she goes back to visit her parents. But almost just as much, she relishes her husband’s delicious breakfasts while relaxing on deck aboard their sailboat.
What does she enjoy most about being a member of LEDI?  In two words: the people!
Learn more about Jennifer as she shares some fun and interesting insights about herself with LDEI.
Which one chef (living or deceased) would you want to invite over for dinner?  Sarah Leah Chase.

What is your favorite cookbook?  All of Sarah’s cookbooks.

Any favorite indulgences?  Lindt Salted Bittersweet Chocolate.

What’s your go-to, quick-and-easy dinner? Frittata or whole grains with veggies and cheese.

What’s your favorite dessert to prepare? Salted caramel sauce. I have this great recipe, which I serve over pound cake or ice cream. It’s wonderful.

What’s the biggest cooking mistake you’ve ever made? Early on, lots of things. But a crock pot, brisket, and way too much water comes immediately to mind.

What’s one ingredient you can’t live without? Olive Oil. I use the Greek Lefas brand, which I get from a neighborhood family store. I use cans and cans of it.

Name 3 things that are always in your refrigerator. Parmesan, Greek yogurt, and vegetables.

Name 3 kitchen gadgets you can’t live without. Chef knives, Oxo peeler, and silicone spatulas, which I feel you can never have enough of. My daughter actually makes fun of the fact that I’m always using them to get every last bit out of a container!

What would people be surprised to find in your kitchen? Ridiculous number of condiments everywhere.


Cleveland Dames Making News!

Bev Shaffer makes the cover of Ohio Magazine!
Check out the JUST DESSERTS cover story in the February 2012 issue of Ohio Magazine. Chef Bev Shaffer shares her passion for all things chocolate. Find additional content online.

Candice Berthold supports Go Red for Women in February
Most of us associate February and the color red with Valentine's Day. However February has another important distinction: February is American Heart Month.

"Being a heart attack survivor, I am a big supporter of heart health education, and especially awareness of heart health and heart issues regarding women. To help promote more awareness, I wear red every day in the month of February. I also support the Go Red for Women program and their local events." To learn more visit, www.goredforwomen.org.  "I was very proud to be able to donate packets of seasonings (with recipe) and olive oil for the women who attend the Go Red event in Cleveland, February 17 and in Lake County, February 24."

Gloria Cipri Kemer in Cleveland Business Connects magazine
Gloria, Owner of Emerald Necklace Inn, now in it's 12th year, was named a Leading Female Entrepreneur in Cleveland Business Connects Nov/Dec 2011 issue. The article spotlighted 10 local ladies Leading the Way and setting a positive example for business owners across Northeast Ohio.


Dame du Jour: Donita Anderson

By Maria Isabella, Interview by Jennifer Wolf-Webb

Donita Anderson
Donita Anderson, executive director of the North Union Farmers Market, was first introduced to her love of food by her grandmothers. “Both my grandmothers were fine chefs,” she explains with pride. “One was Asian, one Scottish.” Chef Aliette Benson in Detroit also had a profound influence on her eventual career choice. With a degree in biology and formal training as a chef, Donita has been contributing her multiple talents to the culinary field for the past 35 years.
When not working, Donita likes to entertain by throwing impromptu dinners for family and friends. She especially enjoys improvising with great products from local markets. “A good example,” she says, “is the fresh, organic, free-range poultry from Tea Hill Farms. The stock from their chicken is unbelievably good; nothing else comes close. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never use the stuff in the boxes again.”
Donita first heard of Les Dames d’Escoffier through Crickett Karson nearly four years ago. What does she enjoy most about her membership in this society? “Being with hardworking people,” she replies without missing a beat.
Learn more about Donita as she shares some fun and interesting insights about herself with LDEI.
What’s your favorite restaurant and what do you usually order there?  There are so many chefs in Cleveland doing great things with food. I particularly enjoy going to La Campagna, Pacific East, Crop, the Flying Fig, and Li Wah (especially for their dim sum Sundays). Another favorite is Cortez Fish Market off Longboat Key in Florida (best stone crab and Gulf shrimp around!).  But the truth is, I really do eat at home quite a bit. I enjoy preparing something different every night. If I’m not doing that, then I’m eating in Amish homes, with chef Ben Giordano (in my opinion, a genius and the best American chef), or with friends who have prepared wonderful meals using produce from our farmers’ markets.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?  Balachong (aka the caviar of east Asia): a hot and spicy spread made with garlic, caramelized onions, fermented fish paste, and dry shrimp.  It’s delicious on hot toasted and buttered scali (from On the Rise Artisan Breads in Cleveland Heights).
Which one chef (living or deceased) would you want to invite over for dinner?  Sarah Leah Chase.

What is your favorite cookbook?  The Nantucket Open House Cookbook.

What is your favorite food blog?  The Pioneer Woman Cooks! by Ree Drummond.

Any favorite indulgences? Mitchell’s dark chocolate marzipan.

What’s your favorite snack? Tart dried cherries and cashews.

What’s your favorite dessert to prepare?  An almond tart with raspberry jam.

What’s the biggest cooking mistake you’ve ever made? As a sous chef at the Hilton, I made Cherries Jubilee for 500 and ran out of ice cream!

What’s one ingredient you can’t live without?  Sea of Cortez salt.

Name 3 things that are always in your refrigerator.  Eggs, milk, and butter.

Name 3 kitchen gadgets you can’t live without.  Food processor, knives, and chopsticks.