Did your family cook when you were a child? Some, but not a ton. Unlike many of my friends who were excited to go out, it was always a treat to eat a home-cooked meal because we ate out so much!
How old were you when you started cooking? I decorated my first cake when I was twelve. I think I probably started baking when I was ten. I made my first wedding cake when I was fourteen...crazy couple...who lets a fourteen-year-old make their wedding cake?!
First cooking job? Worked at Shadrach's Deli in Memphis, Tennessee, when I was fifteen.
Did you attend culinary school or college? No, I majored in nutrition and dietetics in college and came to St. Louis to complete my master's degree in medical dietetics from SLU.
What do you eat? Most everything. I absolutely love sweets, and ethnic cuisine is my favorite for meals. Greek, Thai, Indian, Mexican and, of course, Italian.
What do you cook at home? I'm rarely home, so most of my "cooking" involves something frozen from Trader Joe's. (I'm particularly fond of the asparagus risotto.)
Your favorite restaurant elsewhere? Had a wonderfully memorable meal at Steuben's in Denver, Colorado.
Your favorite food city? San Diego
Most essential ingredient in your kitchen? Sugar
Five words to describe your food. Addictive, familiar, luscious, homestyle gourmet.
One food you dislike. Oysters
A food you can't live without. Peanut butter
An ingredient never allowed in your kitchen. Lard
Culinarily speaking, St. Louis needs more... I think St. Louis has an excellent variety of creative and high-quality restaurants.
Favorite after-work hangout. Any of the local Kaldi's.
Favorite kitchen tool. My metal offset spatula.
What inspires you? Finding ways to be more environmentally friendly by decreasing unnecessary waste and increasing resourcefulness.
Chefs who inspire you. Local: Chef Eric Kelly of Scape and Crepes, etc. Elsewhere: Sara Moulton.
Favorite cookbooks? The Joy of Cooking, Bon Appetit Magazine
Proudest professional moment? Speaking last year at the 75th anniversary celebration of the Saint Louis University Dietetic Internship...as the owner of a bakery and two (now three) cupcake shops.
Favorite music to have in the kitchen. Something upbeat. Some great techno is the best way to keep things moving during a busy week!
What's on your pizza? Fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, beef and an amazing chunky tomato sauce.
What's in your omelet? Lots of vegetables and a bit of cheese.
What are you drinking? Straight seltzer with a lime wedge. Love it.
When did you know the chef's life was for you? When the phone started ringing off the hook shortly after we opened the Cakery.