This is my story and I’m sticking to it … Geez Louise!
It was 1957, American Bandstand had just aired on television, Elvis was singing Jailhouse Rock, and the cost of gas was 28 cents. A young man with a pompadour haircut named Lee returned from the Air Force and fell in love with a dark haired Spanish girl named Sarah. Smitten, it wasn’t long before he proposed. The song “In the Still of the Night” was playing in the background, Sarah barely 18 was more than ready for marriage and said, “Yes”. They bought their first home in the country for $10,000.00 and began living the American dream. My mother was (and still is) the quintessential 1950’s housewife, dolled up and wearing an apron with no other dreams, but to raise a family and be a wife.
I couldn’t have been more than five year’s old when I would venture out into my mother’s backyard garden just to admire the plump bright red tomatoes drooping on the vines, heavy with their juice. I would stand in the middle of the towering plants, look up into the sky and take a deep breath. If I close my eyes right now, I can still smell the earthiness of the tomato mixed in with the aroma of the summer sun warming the rich soil in which the tomatoes were thriving in. Like a mother looking for a lost child, you can find me today, at the farmer’s market smelling tomatoes in search of “that perfect tomato smell”. We celebrated the classic “Americana” life with family at the dinner table, around the barbecue, or over the campfire roasting marshmallows. Every meal was carefully planned and prepared by my mom, we almost never ate out. An occasional treat was our choice of a “Swanson TV Dinner” – I always chose Salisbury steak & mashed potatoes with the cherry cobbler dessert. I was obsessed with everything girly and spent countless hours making elaborate mud pies and planning extravagant backyard parties for my imaginary guests, in plastic dress up heels and cherry flavored “Lip Smackers” of course. My Easy Bake Oven was my prized possession and Betty Crocker was a household name. It is memories like these and countless others that come together to create a culinary collage that tells the story of my lifelong connection to the glamour of the 1950’s, and my school girl romance with classic “American” comfort food.
Determined and focused, I set my eyes on culinary school as a second career with 3 small children at home. It wasn’t easy, but it was the best choice I ever made. After graduating with a degree in culinary arts from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, I was fortunate enough to begin my career learning from countless talented chefs, mentors, and colleagues who I will forever be indebted to. Their creativity, inspiration, and strengths were gifts that would become a solid foundation that I could grow from. It didn’t take me long to realize that my creative curiosities called me out of the limits of the kitchen. Over the last 15 years I have I have expanded my title “Chef” to include; personal chef, culinary instructor, demonstrator, spokesperson, culinary talent for television and media, food stylist, food photographer, and free lance food writer.
Geez Louise is a reflection of everything that breathes life into my creative soul. I’m a chef in stilettos with cherry red nails & lips – dreaming about that perfect slice of cherry pie with a flaky buttery crust, and then my thoughts drift to what color plate to choose from to photograph it on.
I believe champagne cocktails make every day worth celebrating. I want to live in a place where the corner diner’s “blue plate special” is always meatloaf and mashed potatoes and where the smell of Sunday pot roast brings everyone to the table – hungry. I do believe grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup can make any rainy day better and that homemade chocolate chip cookies keep kids off drugs.
I’m driven by my insatiable hunger to be creative and to inspire my children to live joyously from a place of truth. At the end of the day nothing makes me happier than cooking for the man who supports my dreams by greeting him after his long day at work, with a roast chicken and buttermilk biscuits.
I am the modern day, 1950’s housewife, a chef dolled up and wearing an apron, living out my dreams, raising a family and being a wife.