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Episode 15 of Edacious – Food Talk for Gluttons.

11846638_1134587746607477_7827747681294854603_nEpisode 15 is live! Available at Edacious – Food Talk for Gluttons, on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and your regular podcast outlets. What’s it like to be a female chef in an industry that doesn’t always recognize women with awards and accolades? What are some of the assumptions made about women chefs with regard to how they run a kitchen, prepare their food, present themselves?

Melissa Close-Hart is a celebrated chef with decades of experience under her belt. The only woman on Charlottesville’s “Mount Rushmore” of chefs, Melissa has been nominated four times as a James Beard semi-finalist during her tenure as Executive Chef of Palladio at Barboursville Vineyards. More times than any male chef in this area combined. What does she think of the Time magazine “Gods of Food” debacle that occurred a few years back? Do women just not pursue accolades? Or is that a generalization? In 2015, why do folks still assume men are line cooks and women are pastry chefs?

We discuss this at length during the episode as well as what it feels like to leave a kitchen after 14 years to pursue the dream of building something you can call your own. Her new venture, Junction, will open early next year in Belmont and feature cuisine with a Tex-Mex flavor, a tequila bar, and a much bigger dining room.

What one-word piece of advice does she give to young chefs just starting out to gain invaluable experience? How did working at McDonald’s prepare her for fine dining? What’s it like to not only change kitchens, but your whole cuisine? Why are Duran Duran and Kraft Mac and Cheese some of her favorite things? All this and more in Episode 15. I had a fantastic time talking with “Mama Mel” and I know you’ll enjoy it.

This episode is sponsored by In A Flash Laser Engraving.

SHOW NOTES – Links to items discussed within the episode:

Episode 14 of Edacious – Food Talk for Gluttons.

11752109_10205775569802156_844029383696423941_nEpisode 14 is live! Available at Edacious – Food Talk for Gluttons, on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and your regular podcast outlets. Real food isn’t processed food. It isn’t created in a lab with flavor chemicals. It doesn’t contain preservatives. It’s tasty, healthful, and doesn’t require a culinary degree to prepare. And yes, it can contain fat and sugar. Kath Younger, a registered dietician, is one of the earliest and most well-known healthy lifestyle bloggers. Since 2007 she has chronicled her daily meals at KathEats.com and for many years, blogged each meal three times a day.

The discipline required for such a feat is astounding to me and I couldn’t wait to talk to her about it, and about how she was able to take a hobby and turn it into a profitable online business. What are her challenges and triumphs? When you’ve been blogging for eight years, and your life changes, how does it affect content? And how do you evolve your content without alienating your readers? Is there a secret junk food she doesn’t include in the blog? And why does she put “junk food” in quotes?

We cover all of that, moving on to small changes you can make to improve your health, and why she believes an “addition” philosophy is better than one of “subtraction”. We gush over our shared love for butterscotch, and spend a ton of time grieving the loss of Eppie’s Santa Fe Salad. We also talk about how we deal with the sometimes vitriolic nature of the Internet, and how advice from Pëma Chödron might help.

What began as a conversation on eating healthy, ended up a therapy session for me on how to exercise more often! There may or may not have been a beer tasting. I wax poetic about Overnight Oats, and how it changed the way I start my day. And I say “insane” a lot. How many times? A prize for someone who can tell me ;) Enjoy! As always, I appreciate your constructive comments and suggestions.

This episode is sponsored by In A Flash Laser Engraving.

SHOW NOTES – Links to items discussed within the episode:

The Squiggly Line Effect – Kath Younger’s Approach to Weight Maintenance

Pocket Yoga – I use this app to design/build my own yoga routine, great app!

Amy Tan’s Quote Regarding Unkind Internet Comments

Episode 12 of Edacious – Food Talk for Gluttons.

11265012_947589145292940_401786430629120687_nEpisode 12 is live! Available at Edacious – Food Talk for Gluttons, on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and your regular podcast outlets. Remember how our grandmothers created different flavors of cake simply by mixing up whatever was in the pantry? Apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg would become an Apple Dapple Cake. Add black walnuts and it’s Nutty Apple Dapple. After talking with Laurie Blakey of Pearl’s Bake Shoppe in Charlottesville (and Richmond), I’m convinced this needs to become a thing. The next dessert trend.

Laurie’s love of cake comes from her grandmother, Pearl, who had a farm in Greene County. Laurie herself is from Albemarle, and first opened a Pearl’s in Richmond with partner Laura Condrey before tackling another shop here on West Main Street. Her commitment to quality and her concept of “Pearl’s Perfect” stems from her grandmother’s passion for baking and attention to detail.  And it’s not just cupcakes. Pearl’s creates scrumptious pies, tarts, macarons, cakepops, you name it! The “Yam Ham” biscuits (country ham and sweet potato) are not to be missed, and Pearl’s wedding cakes have won awards. Virginia Living named Pearl’s cupcakes the best in the state. Laurie firmly believes if you cannot do a perfect vanilla cupcake, you might as well not do any others, and after tasting it, I wholeheartedly agree.

Pearl’s is also dedicated to making sure customers with dietary needs enjoy her cupcakes by spending countless hours researching ingredients for her gluten-free and vegan options. One of the first awards earned was “Most Accommodating to People With Dietary Needs” and this award remains the most precious to Laurie. Her gluten-free and vegan options go beyond just meeting the requirements, but taste sinfully close to something loaded with butter and flour.

We spent so much time talking about our grandmothers, sharing stories, and pouring over old cookbooks some of which are pictured below. Laurie is an awesome storyteller in her own right, and her tale about her 7th birthday is one not to be missed. I hope you’ll join us!

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This episode is sponsored by In A Flash Laser.

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