Dame du Jour: Gloria Cipri-Kemer

by Maria Isabella

With a paternal family that owned a deli and pizza parlor in Connecticut and a maternal family that owned a neighborhood cafĂ© in Colorado, it’s no wonder Gloria Cipri-Kemer is in the hospitality business today.

“Hospitality is my main concentration,” says Gloria. “Making people feel comfortable and feeding them is what I love to do.”

Clevelanders are certainly very lucky to have her. In fact, they’ve been flocking to her ever-popular establishment, the Emerald Necklace Bed-and-Breakfast Inn in Fairview Park, Ohio, ever since it opened in 1999. But make no mistake. This is no ordinary inn; it’s also a tea room, a spa, a beauty salon (Gloria is a licensed cosmetologist), and a gift shop.

“I was developing children’s beauty salons in Southern California and designing hair products and styling equipment before I moved to Cleveland. Once here, I decided to open up my own inn/beauty salon, and the rest, as they say, is history!” explains this award-winning entrepreneur.

As a child, she loved helping her Italian mother and grandmother in the kitchen. She particularly remembers Sundays, when she would savor the aroma of meatballs cooking. No wonder, of all the places she’s traveled, she loves the food of Northern and Southern Italy the best.

“The sauces were garden fresh,” she reminisces, “and the bread was a meal in itself.”

As for how she likes to entertain herself these days, Gloria says it’s all about making it special. “I love taking the time to carefully set my table, the time to cook home-style food, and the time to eat leisurely with family and friends.”

Gloria has been a member of LDEI’s Cleveland chapter from the very beginning. “I joined after I saw a small ad in the Plain Dealer,” she explains.

As for what she enjoys most about being a member? “Besides all the great food,” she reflects, “I enjoy meeting very interesting women and learning about different styles of restaurants.”

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

What is your favorite restaurant and what do you usually order there? Pier W. I really enjoy all their fish meals.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten? In Colorado, I ordered an appetizer called “Rocky Mountain Oysters.” Turned out, it wasn’t fish.

Which one chef would you want to invite over for dinner and what would you serve? I would love to meet Martha Stewart and hang out with her. I would fix her my grandmother’s home-made tacos.

Describe your perfect meal (including wine if desired). I love steak and seafood. I’m not a wine drinker.

What’s your favorite comfort food? My husband’s pork and sauerkraut over mashed potatoes. I’d never heard of this dish until I moved to Cleveland. He’s Irish and German.

Any favorite indulgences? Fresh strawberries and pound cake topped with real whipped cream.

What’s your favorite snack? Any hot drink with any creamy dessert. Then I’m in heaven.

What’s your go-to, quick-and-easy dinner? My quick-and-easy signature dish is chicken cutlets.

What’s one ingredient you can’t live without? It’s a toss-up between tomatoes and garlic.

Name 3 kitchen gadgets you can’t live without. A good knife, zester, and hand whip.


Inspirational Keynote Address at the Conference

By Shara Bohach

Much was inspirational at the Les Dames d'Escoffier conference this October in Austin, Texas. Each session offered valuable insight into running the chapter and/or running one's business. The keynote address by Roz Mallet, "Texas Roots to National Stage" was particularly energizing.

Rosalyn (Roz) Mallet offered inspiring words about actively managing your career and moving it forward through instinct, innovation, mentoring, and values-based leadership. Overcoming odds as a double minority, Roz states that you never know what you cannot do until you try. She spoke with passion about opportunities in the restaurant industry, asserting that if you work hard, develop and believe in your instincts, and proceed with confidence, you can do anything.

In her ten tips for outstanding leadership, she includes “seek mentors and seek to mentor.” The giving back is equally, if not more important. With the help of mentors at every step of her career path, Roz has gone from working summers in college as a restaurant cashier to high-level positions with restaurant brands we all know, to becoming the first African-American woman to lead the National Restaurant Association (only the third woman to be chair of the board in their 96 year history).

Always a well-prepared risk-taker, Roz left a highly successful corporate career to start an entrepreneurial business, at the start of a recession, no less. She succeeded in building PhaseNext Hospitality, a multi-brand franchise operating company, in non-traditional foodservice locations such as airports and military bases. She consistently seeks out unique opportunities, and creates business from them.

Roz encouraged Dames to "learn the bad lessons very, very well, because those are the most important," and to "allow someone to ask you what could you have done better." These are the insights that will guide you toward your next success.