Chapter Meeting at Vitamix

By Shara Foldi  |  Photos by Beth Segal

For the June 2012 meeting, Vitamix opened their doors and rich history to Cleveland Dames and guests. Intended to be a store open just for the holiday season last year, the Vitamix Factory Outlet Store in North Olmsted met such success that it has remained open and now plans to stay. Dames enjoyed browsing Vitamix models and recipe books while socializing before the presentation.

 Jodi Berg, President of Vitamix Corporation
President, Jodi Berg engaged us with stories of her family's history, the company's commitment to its guiding principles, and customer loyalty. In business 91 years, Vitamix has spanned four generations, with innovations in both product and marketing techniques spurring its growth. It began with a vision of eating a healthier, plant-based diet, and making it taste delicious. Jodi told us such inspiring stories, from the letter her grandmother wrote to a customer which the customer later sent to Vitamix as testimonial to the values that started the company, to the 70 year old Chinese lady that hugged her so vigorously going on and on in Chinese. Translated, the story told the tale of a woman with cancer who resolved to fight it with diet, but could not find a way to eat enough greens, and enthusiastically credits Vitamix and greens with saving her life. She's still alive today!

Becky Prince demonstrating the Vitamix 5200
Becky Prince, Direct Response Sales Manager, demonstrated the Vitamix 5200 for us and made several recipes for us to try, including a minestrone soup, fresh salsa, hummus, a green smoothie, and a strawberry-lime iced treat for dessert. You could taste the freshness and healthiness in every single one.

The meeting wrapped up with a delectable dinner of vegetarian lasagna, fruit salad, and assorted appetizers, all graciously donated by Vitamix. In fact, all money from the event went directly into the Les Dames d'Escoffier bank account. So a very big THANK YOU to Vitamix for everything!


Cleveland Chapter Gets National Publicity

The Cleveland chapter is featured not once, but twice in the Spring 2012 Les Dames d'Escoffier International Quarterly!

In the article "Cleveland Dames Get Connected Through a New Chapter Blog" Susan Slack highlights our new chapter blog, and other social media adventures. She uses Cleveland's website and blog (designed by Dame Shara Foldi of Unity Design, Inc.) as an example of what other chapters could do to become more connected to each other. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but Way to Go Social Media Committee! As we are sometimes known to say, "We rock!" Check out page 21 of your Spring 2012 Quarterly to read up.

Another article on page 6 spotlights Dame Crickett Karson's career and background as Third Vice President on the Board of Directors of the national organization. It's accompanied by a gorgeous photo of Crickett. Bravo!


Cleveland Dames About Town

Lots of food related activities this past weekend! Here are a few photos of Dames about town.

Dame Elaine Cicora was one of three judges (including Kenny Crumpton from Fox 8 and Joe Crea from the Plain Dealer) judging the Maker's Mark Challenge at the fourth annual Chef Jam at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on June 10, 2012. Sampling nine dishes, both savory and sweet, they chose Momocho as the winner.

Dames Linda Fletcher and Shara Foldi visited with Karl Wente, Fifth Generation Winemaker from Wente Vineyards, and big supporter of Les Dames d'Escoffier. Karl was in town for an achievement award and stopped in at Akron's West Point Market for a wine tasting and bottle signing on June 10, 2012. They enjoyed tasting two whites and two reds, including the estate's limited production showcase wine The Nth Degree.


Dame du Jour: Jennifer Brush

By Maria Isabella, Interview by Bev Shaffer

Jennifer Brush is not one to sit still. She owns The Pastry Brush, a certified and registered home bakery in Chardon, Ohio. She teaches bread and gluten-free classes. She bakes for private clients. She teaches at the Western Reserve School of Cooking in Hudson. She cooks with her husband. And she bakes with her eight-year-old daughter. Whew!
“I love to cook and I love to learn,” says Jennifer. “But most importantly, I like for my family to be healthy.
“Being able to cook with locally sourced products whenever possible means that we don’t eat preservatives, dyes, or things that are not found in nature! I think it’s worth the time it takes to make meals from scratch and to pass that on to my daughter. In fact, it’s something the entire family can do together.”
With a bachelor’s degree in linguistics, a master’s in speech language pathology, a professional pastry diploma, certification as a specialist of wine, and advanced certification in wine and spirits, Jennifer brings a broad wealth of knowledge to her current roles. But there was actually a time when things were much simpler.
“My father’s family was from Greece, and they made wonderful bread, always shaped in a braid with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. The crust was thin and golden brown, the inside was soft and chewy, and it tasted sweet from a spice called Mahlab (ground sour cherry pits).
“I would watch my paternal grandmother make the dough by first placing a large black pot on the kitchen floor and emptying 10 pounds of flour into it! She never referred to any written recipe. I have now learned her recipe, tweaked it to make it my own, and bake it weekly with my daughter!”
While studying in Paris as a college student, Jennifer also learned to love French pastries. Which might explain why her favorite comfort food today is dark chocolate and red wine. But the most unusual thing she’s ever eaten? “Sweetbreads—and I don’t mean the yeasty kind!” she says with a laugh.
As for which chef (living or deceased) she would want to invite over, that’s simple. “I would love to invite Julia Child over for a summer picnic and sit outside in my garden while sipping wine together. I actually have a ‘Julia Child’ rose in one of my gardens!”
Learn more about Jennifer as she shares some fun and interesting insights about herself.
What food always reminds you of home? For me, the ultimate home-cooked meal is Greek-style roasted leg of lamb with orzo (baked right in the roasting pan so all of the meat juices drip on it).

Any favorite indulgences? I love pâté de foie gras on crusty French bread with a medium-bodied red wine.

How do you like to entertain? With wine and bread, and simple food that can be all placed on a platter in the middle of the table so everyone can have a bit of this and a bit of that. Usually I make something rich and decadent for dessert so all one needs is a “little sliver.” I do enjoy the art and challenge of food and wine pairing. I like to find wines that no one has tried before.

Do you have a signature dish? Every year my husband asks for carrot cake with cream cheese/sour cream frosting for his birthday. I put raisins in it that I’ve soaked in rum for a week. It took me about 5 years to tweak the recipe, but now it’s perfect. I made it for a restaurant each week for a few years, and it was a favorite. I have never given away the recipe to anyone.

What’s your go-to, quick-and-easy dinner? Sesame peanut butter noodles with pea pods.

What’s your favorite dessert to prepare? Hmm, that’s a hard one. Probably my two favorites are chocolate espresso buttermilk cake and almond cake with sour cherries.

What’s one ingredient you can’t live without? Eggs. They are so versatile. You can make sweet or savory dishes or an entire meal with eggs. I like to buy organic, cage-free, locally raised eggs.

Name 3 things that are always in your refrigerator. Two kinds of yeast, eggs, and bittersweet dark chocolate.

Name 3 gadgets you can’t live without. A Globe 10-quart mixer, offset spatula, and sharp chef knife.

What would people be surprised to find in your kitchen? Store-bought cookies! I have never been much of a cookie maker, so I let my daughter pick out cookies at the grocery store.