Year-End Meeting at La Campagna

By Shara Bohach

At our year-end meeting, we were treated to a discussion and book signing of Maria Isabella's new book, "In the Kitchen with Cleveland's Favorite Chefs" over a wonderful dinner at Carmella Fragassi's La Campagna in Westlake. After our brief business meeting, we had a lively discussion on topics from book publishing, to Dames helping Dames, to corrections officering (sorry, if you weren't there, you'll have to ask someone who was!) There was also a surprise mini-bridal-shower thrown for me (Shara) - which was such a touching surprise (thank you!

More photos from the evening can be seen on our facebook page...


Dames Demo! at The Fabulous Food Show

By Shara Bohach

Cleveland Dames were well represented at The Fabulous Food Show 2012. Whether they were demoing, presenting, or book signing, here's who took the stage!

Candice Berthold
Bev Shaffer
Maria Isabella
Stefanie Paganini
Ruth Levine
Marilou Suszko
Laura Taxel


Dame du Jour: Marty Nagele

By Maria Isabella, Interview by Shara (Foldi) Bohach

We all have our own earliest childhood memory of food. For Marty, it was when she was still a very young girl. “I was always a huge eater,” she recalls. “So when I was only nine years old, my parents’ friends took me to a smorgasbord because they thought they would really get their money’s worth with me. And they sure did!”

Truth be told, food has always been Marty’s focus, whether for pleasure or as a future career. In fact, ever since high school, Marty has either been working in restaurants, catering, or teaching the culinary arts.  (She earned her degree in Family and Consumer Science from Bowling Green University.)

“I taught the culinary arts for 18 years and now work for the Ohio Restaurant Association Education Foundation,” says Marty with pride. “I am an education coordinator for Ohio ProStart, a program taught at most Ohio high school culinary programs.”

But you’ll never hear the least bit of boasting on her part, which she could so easily do. That’s because, five years ago, she was awarded the prestigious “Culinary Teacher of the Year” award.
“It was a wonderful surprise to just be nominated. But then they showed up at my work and surprised me with the actual award!” says Marty with great modesty.

As for who actually influenced her love of food the most, she admits it had to be the Gallucci family. “They shared their interest in the Cleveland restaurant scene with me, and we ate at every great restaurant in the city during that time.” One of her personal favorites was the Wagon Wheel, a true French restaurant located on Shaker Square.

But Shaker Square is a far cry from Belgium, where Marty says she had the absolute best food in her life. “I spent a great deal of time researching where and what to eat for this trip, and it really paid off,” she admits.

As for her current favorite restaurant in the States, it has to be Alinea in Chicago. “But you have to get reservations a year in advance!” Marty laments.

So how did she hear of LDEI? “From Michelle Gaw and Jan DeLucia,” Marty says. “I was immediately impressed and liked the organization right away. I’ve been a member for five years now.”

What does she enjoy most about being a member? “The people and the programs,” she responds without the slightest hesitation.

Learn more about Marty as she shares some fun and interesting insights about herself.

Describe your perfect meal. A really well-prepared fish. Plus I love Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. I can immediately taste that a wine is from this region, and I love it. That would be the perfect wine.

How do you like to entertain? I love Thanksgiving because it is all about eating. I try to sneak in one new dish each year, although I’m locked into making all of the usual recipes, too, because they remind me of home. I do have one vegetarian daughter [out of three], so I have to tweak the menu a bit for her.

Do you have a signature dish? Eggplant Parmesan. My secret is a very thin coating of mayonnaise on the eggplant before breading it. I find it imparts more flavor than an egg wash.

What’s your go-to, quick-and-easy dinner? Fajitas.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Parmesan Goldfish!

What is your favorite cookbook? The Barefoot Contessa. I love the way Ina Garten entertains.

What’s your favorite dessert to prepare? Tarte tatin. It’s so pretty with its concentric circles of apples.

What’s one ingredient you can’t live without? Cheese. It goes on pretty much everything I make. My favorite is smoked Gouda.

Name 3 kitchen gadgets you can’t live without. My microplane, handheld juicer, and chef’s knife.

What is the one thing you like best about your kitchen? It’s brand new! We gutted it two years ago, redid everything, and got all new appliances, including a wine fridge. I especially love my giant sink, which doubles as a baby bathtub for my granddaughter!