Dame du Jour: Shara Bohach

By Maria Isabella, Interview by Marty Nagele

When one is able to mesh personal passion with professional talents, that’s nirvana. And that’s exactly what Shara Bohach has found in her position as a graphic designer for the food industry.
“I’ve been interested in the creative side of food since college,” Shara confesses, “and somehow everything I did always came back to it.” A graphic design major at Kent State University, all of her design projects inevitably revolved around food.  So it was quite natural that she would eventually go on to form her own firm, Unity Design, which specializes in design for the culinary industry. In fact, Unity Design’s very first client was a restaurant. That was 12 years ago – and they're now busier than ever.

“Food has always been comfortable and intriguing for me,” she adds. “I'm so fortunate to merge that love with my profession.”

“I’m constantly eating out and trying new restaurants, both from a foodie perspective and from a business perspective – keeping an eye on trends in the industry” she explains.

When asked where she has experienced her best meal, Shara quickly responds it was at La Truffe, a small restaurant in Paris that specialized in mushrooms. Another favorite was Pimlico Tandoori, an Indian restaurant in London that served as her introduction to Indian cuisine, which she cites as a palate-changing experience. In the States, one of her favorites is (Dame Ruth Levine's) Bistro 185 “with their unbelievably delicious vegan nights.”

Her perfect meal? Vegan “chicken” Marsala with roasted asparagus, paired with a red Zin from Lodi, California.

As for the most unusual thing she’s ever eaten, Shara admits it was actually a drink…an earthy Greek wine made with pine resin, called Retsina. She served this as part of a theme menu at a recent book club meeting after reading “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson.

When it comes to entertaining, she loves to be out on her deck serving simple, fresh guacamole or bruschetta and wine. The view of the woods from there is magnificent.

Shara first became aware of Les Dames from Laura Taxel and Crickett Karson at the Feast for Amelia fundraiser at Lucky’s CafĂ© in 2007. She joined right after that.

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

What is your favorite cookbook? “Vegan with a Vengeance” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Garlic mashed potatoes!

What’s your favorite snack? Hummus and veggie sticks, or cheese.

Do you have a signature dish? Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna. And guacamole, both traditional and creative variations.

What’s your go-to, quick-and-easy dinner? Veggie and tofu stir fry.

What’s your favorite dessert to prepare? I don't make many desserts, but I do make a lot of muffins and really enjoy making them.

What’s the biggest cooking mistake you’ve ever made? I'm always looking for ways to incorporate more nutrition into recipes, and therefore make a lot of substitutions. I once tried substituting millet flour for most of the wheat flour in a recipe for pumpkin bread. The results were disastrous, terrible tasting, and dense as a brick. Fortunately, my dog liked it, so she ate pumpkin bread treats for quite a while!

What’s one ingredient you can’t live without? Garlic. There was this garlic soup that I had once at Max's Deli (a restaurant that used to be in Rocky River). I went back so many times in search of it, and they never had it. Some day I will have to try making it.

Name 3 things that are always in your refrigerator.  Fresh veggies, tofu, and ground flax seed.

Name 3 kitchen gadgets you can’t live without. My rice cooker, small prep bowls, and Microplane's Herb Mill (which I learned about from Dame Bev Shaffer’s blog!).


Holiday Happy Hour

By Cynthia Schuster Eakin

Chef Nolan Konkoski’s SoHo Kitchen and Bar in Ohio City had just the right ingredient to spice up Les Dames d’Escoffier Cleveland Chapter’s Holiday Happy Hour on December 12.

Chapter members gathered to raise a toast to Les Dames’ 2012 accomplishments. The opportunity to sample Konkoski’s southern cuisine provided added incentive for the festive meeting.

Cleveland Dames dined on appetizers of Carolina peanut soup with sweet potatoes and apples, and duck gumbo, made with six different components of duck and topped with crispy duck cracklings. The culinary highlight of the evening was the chef’s weekly “Chicken Scratch” menu, featuring all-natural, Ohio-raised birds, southern-fried to order. Side dishes like smoky macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs, jalapeno hushpuppies, mashed potatoes with bourbon gravy and cornbread waffles with Ohio maple syrup, wrapped up the perfect Les Dames holiday treat.