Food lover – Cooking Teacher – Writer – TV Show Host – Culinary Explorer
As a youngster, I was a picky eater without an ounce of interest in food, but all that changed when I spent my junior year studying in Dijon and Paris. I was in France as a French major to study the works of Molière, Rousseau, and Baudelaire, but discovered early on that I was far more interested in mille feuilles, boeuf à la bourguignonne, and crème au caramel. I still remember my favorite patisseries better than my favorite classes!
After college, I set up my own kitchen, but my first efforts were disasters: burnt scrambled eggs (I forgot to stir the eggs, thinking they would scramble themselves), pie dough that was lead-heavy, and caramel sauce that broke spoons. After those inauspicious beginnings, my new husband gently suggested that I might want to take cooking classes. I did, and I cooked my way, with increasing confidence, through countless cookbooks (among them Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking). Finally, much to my own surprise, I decided to teach cooking myself.
I’ve worn more than one culinary toque since entering the food world. I started out by founding La Belle Pomme Cooking School in Columbus, Ohio, attended by over 4000 Ohioans each year. I taught the majority of classes, but had such guest teachers such as Jacques Pépin, Giuliano Bugialli, and Nina Simonds. After moving to New England in the 1990s I continued to teach, and today give classes at the Baker’s Pin in Northampton, Massachusetts.
It wasn’t too long before my teaching career led me to writing about food. For over twenty years I wrote a nationally syndicated column called “That’s Entertaining,” distributed by Tribune Media Services. I also kept busy contributing to Bon Appétit magazine and other publications, and have authored twelve cookbooks, including Sunday Soup, Sunday Roasts, Sunday Brunch, and Sunday Casseroles, published by Chronicle Books. My latest book is Soup Nights published by Rizzoli in the fall of 2016.
I also logged many hours in front of the TV camera as the host for a popular PBS cooking show, “On the Menu,” which aired in western New England from 2006 to 2009.