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Archive | COOKS 2012



From Passion to Profession
Culinary Kids Academy
The Art of Fish Printing
The Phillippi Farmhouse Market
Cooking for a Cause
Preserving the Art of Canning
Chef Darren McGrady
Cypress Inn Bed and Breakfast
Artisan Cheese Company
Homemade Holiday Gifts
7 Bambi Famous Kaine
10 Nik Wallenda
16 Audrey Landers
18 Matthew McLendon
23 Yara Shoemaker
26 John Scalzi
43 Michael & Coral Pleas
52 Jim Minor
Nik Wallenda
Photographed by Kathryn Brass


Photo by Peter Acker
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Your Guide to Community Farmers’ Markets

“Plant it with a smile and it will grow”
—Stan Mitchell, Mitchell’s Natural Produce


Bradenton Farmers’ Market
Old Main St (12th StW)
Saturday 9am–2pm

Bridge Street Market
Historic Bridge St
Sunday 10am–3pm

San Marco Plaza Farmers’ Market
8215 Natures Way
Saturday 9am–2pm
Year Round


Ellenton Farmers’ Market
North of the Prime
Outlet Mall
Saturday 8am–12pm
Saturday 8am–1pm


Englewood Farmers’ Market
Historic Dearborn St
Thursday 9am–1pm


North Port Farmers’/ Craft Market
14942 Tamiami Tr
Saturday 8am–2pm
Year Round


Punta Gorda Farmers’ Market
Taylor St
Saturday 8am–1pm
Year Round


Old Miakka Farmers’ Market
Old Miakka Schoolhouse
15800 Wilson Rd
Saturday 9am–2pm
Year Round

Phillippi Farmhouse Market
Phillippi Estate Park
Wednesday 9am to 2pm

Sarasota Farmers’ Market
Main St & Lemon Ave
Saturday 7am–1pm
Year Round

Siesta Key Farmers’ Market
Ocean Blvd
Sunday 8am–1pm
Year Round


Venice Farmers’ Market
Nokomis & Tampa Ave
Saturday 8am–12pm
Year Round

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Our hearty thanks to all of our advertisers for their continued support in helping to grow and sustain Edible Sarasota. Please make a point of supporting these businesses and organizations.


C’est la Vie
1553 Main St

Heavenly Cupcakes
6538 Gateway Ave
5212 Ocean Blvd

The Lollicake Queen
1821 Hillview St

Pastries by Design
10667 Boardwalk Loop
Lakewood Ranch


Local Coffee + Tea
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
800 S Palm Ave


39 S Beneva Rd


Forks and Corks


Dakin Dairy Farms
30771 Betts Rd
Myakka City

White Oak Pastures
Po Box 98
22775 Highway 27
Bluffton GA


Sarasota County Extension Office
6700 Clark Rd


San Marco Plaza Farmers’ Market
8215 Natures Way
Lakewood Ranch

Sarasota Farmers’ Market
Main St & Lemon Ave


Cutting Loose Salon
8429 Honore Ave

Pure Salon & Boutique
8784 S Tamiami Tr

Southern Roots Salon
5568 Palmer Blvd


Kyäni Nutrition
Bill Spence
Independent Distributor

Fit Fuel

Sarasota Fitness

The Health Chic
12 N 5th St
Haines City

Two Girls Food


The Ritz-Carlton
1111 Ritz Carlton Dr

Non Profit Junior League
3300 S Tamiami Trl

Slow Foods


Beach Bistro
6600 Gulf Dr
Holmes Beach

Beachhouse Restaurant
200 Gulf Dr
Bradenton Beach

Bijou Cafe
1287 1st St

Blue Marlin
121 Bridge St
Anna Maria Island

Coyne’s Pier 28
8201 S Tamiami Trail

Derek’s Culinary Casual
514 Central Ave

Drunken Poet Café
1572 Main St

Eat Here
5315 Gulf Dr
Anna Maria Island
1888 Main St

Euphemia Haye
5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr
Longboat Key

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
2001 Siesta Dr #101

Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse
35 S Lemon Ave

Javier’s Restaurant
6621 Midnight Pass Rd

Libby’s Café + Bar
1917 S Osprey Ave

Madfish Grill
4059 Cattleman Rd

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant
760 Broadway St N
Longboat Key

Mattison’s Bayside
777 N Tamiami Trl

Mattison’s City Grille
1 N Lemon Ave

Mattison’s Forty-One
7275 S Tamiami Trl

Pier 22
1200 1st Ave

Polo Grill and Bar
10670 Boardwalk Lp
Lakewood Ranch

Sandbar Waterfront Restaurant
100 Spring Ave
Anna Maria Island

Square 1 Burgers & Bar
1737 S Tamiami Trl
5239 University Pkwy

Sun Garden Café
210 Avenida Madera
Siesta Key

The Sarasota Manatee Originals

Tequila Cantina
1454 Main St

Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi Grill
100 Central Ave


Big Water Fish Market
6641 Midnight Pass Rd
Siesta Key

Morton’s Gourmet Market
1924 S Osprey Ave

Whole Foods Market
1451 1st St


Beagle Bay Organics

Cypress Creek Wild Alaska Salmon

Pop Craft Pops
4069 S Tamiami Trail

Sapore Della Vita

Transatlantic Sausage Company
6620 Gateway Ave


Global Organic Specialty Source
6284 McIntosh Rd

Chef’s Choice

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Tracey FreemanFeaturing a person on the cover of Edible Sarasota is something new for us. Of course, it had to be the right person and they had to be passionate about local food. Okay, and they may have had to be brave enough to walk a two-inch steel high wire over Niagara Falls or feel comfortable chowing down on a chicken sandwich while traipsing across the ledge of the Ringling Bridge. We hope this issue inspires the daredevil in you to get into the kitchen and take a chance on a new culinary feat of your own.

Considering turning your passion for cooking into a profession? In our Worth the Trip feature Abby Weingarten showcases six culinary schools where you can develop cooking skills while using fresh and local ingredients. Or perhaps your child loves to cook? Culinary Kids Academy offers a variety of classes for kids of all ages.

At this time of year, when our markets are overflowing with gorgeous produce and even the tiniest of gardens can turn out a harvest bounty, our thoughts turn to home preserving. Imagine pulling out a homemade crock of honey-vanilla orange slices to serve over ice cream for dessert this summer, or giving away jars of shimmering jelly at the holidays. Most of us never get further than the fantasy. It seems that nobody has the time or space anymore to make the huge batches of jams that our grandmothers used to, and many of us are intimidated by the precise, scientific steps outlined in canning instructions, as well as their frequent warnings about food safety. Liz Sniegocki has found a way to streamline the process and put home canning within the reach of the busy modern cook. We’ve included several of her favorite recipes, along with simple guidelines to take the stress out of this rewarding hobby. Read on, and you’ll soon be preserving like a pro, just in time to whip up a few edible holiday gifts to share.

If you would like to see our home cooks re-create their recipes live, tune in weekdays at noon to ABC 7 with Chef Judi Gallagher beginning November 26th. Judi will be featuring a home cook every week.

The funny thing about food: it’s never just about food. It’s about finding time to catch up with your friends and spending some iPhone-free time with your family at the dinner table (except for a few quick photos). It’s about your best friend’s passion for making pierogies, cabbage rolls, and borscht; or that smoked rib recipe that takes your brother-in-law two days to prepare. It’s about the people in your life and the food memories that will last for generations to come.

Edible Sarasota would like to thank all of our contributors as well as our story subjects for their hard work and talents shared. Together we have learned that each opportunity turns into so much more.

Read it and eat,

Tracy Freeman–Editor

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COOKS AT HOME: Bambi Famous Kaine

Bambi Famous Kaine


Long before Easy-Bake Ovens, Bambi Famous Kaine was in the kitchen with her great-grandmother Edna Clemens Bucher, baking “the best” apple, strawberry, rhubarb, and peach pies.

“Everything Grandmom cooked or baked was something she grew in her garden or handpicked from a local orchard. Grandmom always had bushels of apples & peaches, green beans, corn, and beets, and we baked pies, canned pickled vegetables, and made jams and preserves,” Kaine recalls.

“I loved just spending time with her in the kitchen, learning about her life while smelling the aroma of fresh pies or waiting for the yeast for our cinnamon buns to rise on the metal radiator.”

And not all of Bambi’s strong cooking skills were passed down from her great-grandmother, either. Her stepfather, who raised her from the age of three, loved to experiment in the kitchen. Being Jewish, he taught her to prepare a Seder dinner. “He is also the one who exposed me to more fine cuisine and ethnic cooking. I was in middle school when he was teaching me how to prepare oysters Rockefeller, a savory cheese fondue, and his famous potato latkes!”

Today, Bambi somehow manages to find the time to cook with her own family in between board meetings and speaking engagements for the American Cancer Society

(Bambi hit her five-year survival date on September 11th), managing her own ACS team (“Bam’s Brigade”), working as a registered nurse and licensed real estate agent, serving as a committee member for Sarasota Memorial’s Key to the Cure.

Bambi’s family includes her husband, Dr. Jeff Kaine, their son Dane, now 24, and daughter Katelyn, who they lost tragically while she was in college. Bambi and her family created the Katelyn Joy Derstine Scholarship Fund, Inc. in Katelyn’s memory and Bambi serves as president ( “I have so many photos of Katelyn and Dane with flour all over their hair and faces while helping me roll out the dough for our fruit pie crusts. They just loved making fresh applesauce with the Victoria grinder and my great-grandmother’s original utensils,” she recalls.

Thanksgiving dinner is Bambi’s favorite holiday meal to cook with her family. They don’t buy any store-made items and Bambi’s Delicious Open-Faced Dutch Apple Pie is always one of the requested desserts.

“Family has played the entire role in my cooking. I believe the best recipe for cooking is not just the variety of culinary ingredients but what family, tradition, gardens, laughter, and camaraderie produce. Those flavors last a lifetime on the tongue!”


Delicious Open-Faced Dutch Apple Pie

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COOKS AT HOME: Nik Wallenda

Nik Wallenda


Daredevil and high-wire artist Nik Wallenda may spend his working hours in the clouds, but at home and in real life, he couldn’t be more grounded.

During his off-hours, he can be found roaming the aisles at Whole Foods Market, grilling chicken dishes for family dinners, or simply mowing his father’s lawn. These everyday rituals help the well-known performer maintain his humility, he says.

“I could be out of town for six months at a time, traveling all over the world, but my family is the most important thing to me and my priority is being a father and husband,” says Wallenda. The seventh-generation circus star and his wife Erendira live in Sarasota with their children Yanni, 14; Amadaos, 11; and Evita, 9. “I love to cook, and I probably do a quarter of the cooking when I’m home. When I cook, it’s usually not good for us. My food is really rich, I have to say.”

So is his adrenaline-pumping lifestyle. Nik Wallenda walked a two-inch steel high wire across Niagara Falls in June, and the Grand Canyon is next on this record breaker’s to-do list. Adventure is hard-wired into his psyche, he says.

The Great Wallenda clan traces its roots back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 1780s. Nik’s great-grandfather Karl brought the family to America in the 1920s. Nik Wallenda had his first high-wire experience in utero, when his mother, Delilah Wallenda, tiptoed the line six months into her pregnancy. He even proposed to his wife on the wire in 1999 in front of 18,000 people in Montreal. His Niagara Falls tour de force over the summer streamed live on ABC to an audience of 13.3 million Americans (the highest rating for a non-sports network broadcast in six years).

“When you’re walking a wire, you never know what you’re going to experience when you get to the middle. It teaches you about life,” Nik says. “I’m a fighter. I don’t give up for anything. No matter what, if I have my mind set on something, I’ll just do it. I want people to realize we set limits on ourselves that are way too low, and when we set our expectations low, we don’t fulfill our dreams.”

Hometown fans can see Nik Wallenda in a Circus Sarasota showcase from late January to mid-February.

“I’m looking forward to being at home for a while, doing a show in my hometown and working here, and just getting back to cutting my dad’s grass,” Nik says. “I think that sort of stuff keeps me humble. I never want to get to the point where I think I’m special.”


Spicy Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Red Pepper Mayonnaise

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From Passion to Profession


Whip up Italian fare alongside Food Network celebrities and international authors. Prepare holiday hors d’oeuvres with a gaggle of friends. Or, turn your culinary passion into a profession with a bona fide post-secondary degree. Cooking classes abound in Sarasota-Manatee, for everyone from the amateurish to the adept. Find your flavor.


At Whole Foods Market in downtown Sarasota, fall brings wine tastings, cheese samplings, and fondue feasts for every level of chef. A “Cheese Monger Club Class” in mid-November teaches participants about the world of artisan fromages, while a post-Thanksgiving appetizer primer showcases some less-filling alternatives to holiday fare. Early December ushers in top wines, and 2012 draws to a close with a fondue extravaganza. Most classes are free or only $5. And here is a New Year’s resolution suggestion: Take the “Health Starts Here” store tour with a group of 10 people and become an expert aisle navigator, or sign up for a one-on-one private healthy eating consultation. Kick off a more nutritious lifestyle, and discover how to cook for it.

1451 First St, Sarasota; 941- 955-8500;,



Another option for the “laycooks” is Publix Aprons Cooking School at Sarasota’s University Parkway store. Resident chef James Hendry describes the two-hour classes here as “infotainment” sessions. From “Italian Dinner Wine and Dine” to “Batter Up! Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond” and “Couples’ Cooking: Holiday Entertaining” courses, Aprons’ event schedule is as varied as its pupils. Children and adults can enroll, and the school also hosts private parties and team-building exercises. “Our classes are fun, interactive, educational, and delicious. We usually serve four courses with wine pairings for $40, so it’s affordable, too,” says Hendry, adding that the school opened in 2002. “We have hosted Food Network celebrity chefs and introduced people to food from local restaurants. It is just an all-around great experience.”

2875 University Parkway, Sarasota; 941- 358- 7781;


Sarasota’s own chef and author Giuliano Hazan organizes Italian national and international cooking classes through his Educated Palate program. In February, join him in a private kitchen in Houston, Texas, for a multicourse instructional with antipasti, risotto, pasta dishes, desserts, and regional Italian wines. Hazan offers insider tips on easy preparation of impressive products, and he has plenty of wisdom to impart. Since age 17, Hazan was working at Marcella Hazan’s lauded School of Classic Italian Cooking in Bologna, Italy. He is now the author of five books, including i, and is the recipient of the 2007 Cooking Teacher of the Year Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

“I think my classes give people an idea of what it’s like to prepare a typical Italian meal. Everyone gets a chance to be involved, and we sit down and have a leisurely meal at the table with some wine,” Hazan says. “It’s a fun, enjoyable, pleasant time.”

941- 363-1258;

Now that we have covered three beginner options, let us venture into the bigger leagues. For those contemplating a full culinary career, here is a trio of local hubs that will turn you from kitchen rookie to primo chef.


At Manatee Technical Institute’s Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts Program in Bradenton, chef Garry Colpitts helps long-term students develop a foundation in the catering, servicing, and sales industries. Enrollees in the 1,200-hour program will gear up for employment as prep cooks, line cooks, and head chefs by mastering the tricks of the modern commercial kitchen. The teaching team includes award-winning hotel and resort cooks, pastry artists, and sauce chefs from local restaurants, each specializing in various aspects of contemporary and classic cuisine. Earn your certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and get cooking.

5603 34th St W, Bradenton; 941- 751-7900, ext. 2018;


Sarasota County Technical Institute’s Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts Program catapults students to expert chef status, usually in 10 months. Devoted attendees can take three-year ACF-sponsored apprenticeships for real-world experiences, too. Regular courses on the Sarasota campus include “Bakery Goods and Dessert Preparation,” “Proficiency in Customer Relations,” and “Housekeeping and Equipment Operation.” The program articulates with Johnson and Wales University, and students often pursue jobs on cruise ships and in posh resorts, restaurants, and hotels.

4748 Beneva Rd, Sarasota; 941- 924-1365, ext. 62286;


Keiser University’s Center for Culinary Arts has cutting-edge culinary laboratories at its Sarasota campus, and the staff encourage students to branch out via externships. The 35-year-old program takes a student-centered approach, with classes offered just one at a time. There are small daytime and evening courses, career placement is available, and students can choose between an associate’s degree in either culinary or pastry arts. In 16 months, chef Michael Moench and his staff take students from “American Regional Cuisine” and “Classical French Cuisine” to “Food Service Supervision” and “Stocks and Sauces.”

“A lot of our students will come in at 26 years old, and they’ll take one class at a time and pace themselves while they’re working. It is a very practical approach,” says Moench, who was named the 2008 Education Administrator of the Year for the State of Florida by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges. “We had a student go to Australia to do an externship recently, and we’ve seen our students find employment at places like Bern’s Steak House, the Hard Rock Café in Tampa, the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota and the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. It is wonderful to witness, and I’m always happy to help my students achieve their goals.”

6151 Lake Osprey Dr, Sarasota; 1-866-KEISER2;

Whether you cook for recreational joy or for monetary rewards, you can always become more seasoned, so to speak. Let this sextet of suggestions spice up the coming year.

scenes of cooking

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COOKS AT HOME: Audrey Landers

Audrey Landers


garlicBetween flights to Germany, New York, and Miami, Audrey Landers unwinds in her Osprey kitchen, whipping up holiday feasts for her mother, husband, and twin teenage sons.

“I’m all over the world on a regular basis, so coming back to normal life is the best part,” Landers says. “I’m a little bit of a ‘cookaholic.’ I think cooking is creative and relaxing, and I’ve always liked being at home and entertaining.”

Entertaining is Landers’ MO, both at home and onscreen. Best known for her roles as Afton Cooper on TV’s Dallas and as Val in A Chorus Line (the movie), Landers was a household name in the 1980s and 1990s. Now a bona fide Renaissance woman, she is an actress, singer, composer, producer, director, and fashion entrepreneur who travels internationally every six weeks.

Family is her anchor, and the Landers family—19-year-old Daniel and Adam (at the University of Miami and Duke University, respectively); Audrey’s mother, Ruth; and her husband, Donald Berkowitz—adore their intimate hours around the dinner table.

“Traditionally, our family has been the party house for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Super Bowl,” Audrey Landers says. “Growing up, we always had tons of kids over and there was food for everyone. I learned from the best, my mother. Now she and I have to divvy up the holiday events because she’s still an amazing cook and hostess.”

Ruth Landers is also an amazing manager, having guided her daughter’s pursuits for decades. In true family fashion, Audrey Landers now oversees the career of her son Daniel. A singer-songwriter in his own right, Daniel performed in Europe on The X Factor and ascended to heartthrob status abroad.

Together, Audrey and Ruth Landers created the Landers STAR Collection—a line of affordable clothing and accessories that is often featured on QVC in the UK, USA, Italy, Canada, and Germany.

Audrey Landers is currently teaching a master class on the music and entertainment business at the University of Miami—a gig for which she travels once a month. She heads to New York to collaborate with her fashion design group, and does Dallas promotions (there has been a burgeoning Facebook campaign to bring Audrey Landers back to the reprised show, and she has confirmed she will return in January). Audrey and Daniel Landers are even recording an album together of songs Afton Cooper sang on the show.

“When I’m home, going to farmers’ markets and cooking vegetarian food is very therapeutic for me,” Audrey Landers says. “It brings me back to reality, and to what’s most important: my family.”

That, for Audrey Landers, will always be priority one.


Vegetarian Chili

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COOKS AT HOME: Matthew McLendon

Matthew McLendon


Matthew McLendon, the associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Ringling Museum, says he learned to cook for the same reason a lot of folks did: To feed himself in college once he left behind his parents’ dinner table. But he gained a certain edge while studying abroad in Italy—by observing how it was done in the restaurants.

“There was no concept of preservatives at that time,” McLendon says, “and it was my first experience of eating truly fresh food all day, every day. Shopping not for the week, but for the meal. And of course, how do you not love Italian food?”

The purity of fresh ingredients prepared in simple combinations showcasing their quality and flavor inspired McLendon to experiment in the kitchen himself.

“That was hugely influential, because it taught me that cookbooks are very necessary and important, but they’re reference books,” he says. “I will follow a recipe the first few times, but after that I think you just have to have the freedom of improvisation and creativity.”

These days, with his work at the museum, McLendon admits that quality time in the kitchen can be hard to come by.

“When I have the luxury to spend an entire day in the kitchen I’m very happy, but that’s a rare luxury,” he says. He also confesses that he’s terrible at cooking for one—so when he does step in front of a stove, he makes the most out of that happy place by cooking for others.

“It’s a real expression of caring, and of interest in others,” he explains. “I guess curating for me is ultimately about interest in others, and about sharing. I always think of curating as the ultimate show-and-tell. . . . I guess cooking is the same way—it’s sharing, and that’s what I ultimately love about it.” McLendon makes another connection between his passions for the culinary and visual arts:

“The strongest thing I think you could learn as a cook, and the strongest thing I think you can learn as a curator . . . is editing. Cooking is an editorial process: I made it this way this time; this worked, this didn’t work,” he describes. “Curating is much the same way. I start out with an overall plan, and then carrying it through to exhibition is a process of taking away and editing. . . . Sometimes more is more, but frequently it’s not.”


Boursin Chicken Breasts Wrapped in Prosciutto

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kid chefs

Culinary Kids Academy


kidsI was well into adulthood before I learned to cook. As a child I subsisted on either elaborate gourmet meals like osso bucco prepared by my stepdad when he was in town, or frozen microwaveable meals purchased by Mom when he was traveling for work. Consequently, I concluded that cooking was either a massive time-consuming project or a major inconvenience, and either way, it wasn’t worth my time. I wish I could have had a program like Culinary Kids Academy in my life back then; I likely would have discovered my passion for food much earlier in life.

Culinary Kids Academy is a labor of love founded by Jill Collins and Cindy Snyder. Cindy, who owns the Star Keeper Café, has a passion for serving comfort food inspired by her childhood that is still nutritious and made up of fresh, choice ingredients. Jill, the director of nutrition for All Faiths Food Bank, has devoted her career to helping low-income families enjoy food that is healthy yet affordable. Their collaboration began years ago, when Jill began designing a curriculum for hands-on cooking classes that would assist low-income families in purchasing great ingredients and preparing delicious, nutritious meals on a food stamp budget. Cindy was Jill’s very first volunteer chef instructor. Their classes were such a success that other families in the community began to clamor for something that would be open to everyone, and so the idea for Culinary Kids Academy was born.

Culinary Kids Academy offers a variety of classes for kids of all age groups. Storybook Cooks serves children ages 3 to 6. The 60-minute session includes a story that ties in to the day’s cooking lesson. The 75-minute Big Chef/Small Chef classes are designed for an adult and child pair, so families can experience the fun of working together. And the 90-minute Junior Chef (6- to 11-year-olds) and Teen Chef (for ages 12 to 18) courses provide hands-on cooking experience. All classes have some commonalities.

Two recipes are prepared in each class and participants get to take home the accompanying recipe cards. The fare prepared is tasty while also being nutritious. And no matter the age group, each participant gets to participate fully in the cooking process. All classes are kept small so that the students get plenty of time with their instructors. And if you want something that’s more tailored to your specific needs, you can plan a party or design your own event.

Culinary Kids Academy demystifies the cooking process and helps kids learn at a young age the importance of knowing where your food comes from. This innovative program will no doubt make a huge impact on our community in the years to come. Visit their website at to sign up for classes and learn about ongoing special events.

Star Keeper Cafe: 1734 Bamboo Ln, Sarasota; 941-600-1464;

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COOKS AT HOME: Yara Shoemaker

Yara shoemaker


Growing up in Damascus, Syria, Yara Shoemaker spent much of her childhood in the kitchen or at the markets with her mother and grandmother. The farm-fresh fare from the bakeries and butcher shops in Western Asia had an uplifting effect on her mood, her complexion, and her overall health. So, when Shoemaker relocated to the United States seven years ago, she was jolted by the boxed and processed foods she saw on the grocery shelves. She knew getting back to culinary basics was essential for Americans, and that wisdom has been the basis of her business, a women’s lifestyle website called Yara’s Way! (

“I wanted to combine the traditional way of cooking with the modern way of living,” says Shoemaker, who is a former esthetician, model, and posh clothing boutique owner. “Healthy cooking is kind of in my blood, so I want to show people how to read labels and understand what’s in their food.”

Launched in March, the online resource includes recipes, beauty and holistic health secrets, and travel and wedding recommendations. Shoemaker’s book, Health On Your Plate, will be available in January. Readers will glean insights about fruitful, luxury living from a woman who teaches by example.

Shoemaker’s day-to-day routine usually begins at 6 a.m. with a breakfast of yogurt and granola with her husband, Dr. David Shoemaker, the CEO and director of cataract and lens replacement surgery for the Center for Sight. The Shoemakers sip coffee on the dock of their waterfront Sarasota home, watch the sun rise, and listen to the chirping birds before heading off to their respective workplaces.

Yara Shoemaker’s office is adjacent to her residence and houses three staff members who do her hair and makeup for on-camera sessions, shoot her cooking videos, edit her recipes, and update her website. At sunset, Yara Shoemaker embarks on her sunset beach walks before returning home to cook dinner in what she calls her “second office” (the kitchen).

“I cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I don’t ever write lists. I just buy, put everything on the counter and try to invent dishes,” she says. “I’m vegetarian, so there are always salads in the kitchen, and I like to make them fun with beans, broccoli, bulgur wheat, and all kinds of ingredients.”

Shoemaker purchases these ingredients at Jessica’s Organic Farmstand and the Sarasota Farmers’ Market, and incorporates seasonal produce into homemade dressings and soups.

“Traditional Syrian food is very healthy and simple, and I keep my cooking that way,” she says. “You don’t need all kinds of chemicals and preservatives in your body. You will look and feel much better without it.”


Margaret’s Savory Stuffed Chicken

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COOKS AT HOME: John Scalzi

John Scalzi


Meteorologist John Scalzi is known and loved by Sarasotans as the morning and noon meteorologist at ABC 7. You might know that John loves food. In fact, he does have a tendency to reach over the stove for a taste or two while we are cooking together on the noon news.

What you may not know about our local “Galloping Gourmet” is that John not only loves food for its flavors and origins, he loves creating the equipment and framework to support his food passion.

It began with chemistry sets and an inquisitive mind between the ages of 7 and 15. “Mixing together chemicals and understanding the products seemed to merge with combining the ingredients for custard” claims Scalzi. “Then when I was in college, cooking at home evolved into more than just cost-saving necessity. It became a social occasion.” John refers to his learned joys of entertaining as an adult form of playing in the mud. Like most graduate students and actors living in New York City, John worked his way through graduate school in restaurants near Lincoln Center. After watching expert chefs and the food they created, John noticed the food being served in New York eateries elevated cuisine to a higher art form.

While John enjoys cooking in his stylish indoor kitchen, especially designed for entertaining and serving up Mediterranean and Southwestern dishes using a California style of fresh ingredients, he has also been exploring the art of tagine cooking with recipes from Morocco and South Africa. “There are so many healthy cooking styles and unique flavors in these cuisines,” he adds..

Moving outside, John has built his dream come true. “I wanted a space where I could easily enjoy grilling,” which he loves, along with another passion for smoked foods. Think mad scientist meets Julia Child and that is the balance with John Scalzi. A man of drills, jack hammers, and hurricane-proof wire mesh netting for his entire home, he is also a man of spatulas, sauté pans, and immersion blenders. How did John’s outdoor kitchen become the envy of chefs and fellow entertainers?

Scalzi explains how a friend who designs sets for the circus and Broadway helped him weld the aluminum frame of the structure, which can support the weight of a truck. Finished in fireproof materials, the concept was to have a cooking cockpit, similar to the Scalzi indoor kitchen. The outdoor kitchen cockpit boasts a sink, refrigerator, deep-fat fryer, and of course plenty of built-in grilling and smoking equipment. Some of John’s most outrageous kitchen equipment includes the modified outdoor wok that was outfitted with burners from an apartment building’s boiler. It generated so much heat you couldn’t get near with wok, let alone cook in it safely. As for technique and cooking tips, John loves a family standby of grilled salmon with balsamic glaze. He recommends using applewood smoke for the subtle flavor and a sauce of ½ cup white wine, ½ cup balsamic vinegar, juice of a large lemon, and a pinch of brown sugar to pour over the grilled salmon.


Beef Tenderloin

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Linda Heath

The Art of Fish Printing


Early mornings in Linda Heath’s Manatee River neighborhood are met with meditations by the backyard bayou.

Eagles and ospreys soar, roseate spoonbills wade, and mullet jump while Heath anticipates the day’s potential catches and creations. An angler and self-taught artist, Heath tailors her lifestyle around the water, working from a 1,200-square-foot home studio that overlooks Observation Point. Some of the most delectable fish in Bradenton swim just feet from her easels, providing constant, fluid inspiration.

Heath is a master of gyotaku, the Japanese art of making fish prints on delicate rice paper with water-soluble sumi ink. Gyo translates to “fish” and taku means “impression.” The craft dates back to the 1800s, when fishermen rubbed fish to document their daily catches and tell the stories behind the creatures. Heath’s Western take on the ancient Eastern style is true to tradition and charged with spiritual energy.

“I love being out in nature and always have. It is definitely a spiritual experience for me. I catch the fish myself, clean them on my deck, and take a million pictures of them,” she says. “I pin the fish down on a cold slab, put the ink directly on the fish and peel off the paper. Then, I put about 10 to 15 hours into the detail of the print. It is physically exhausting, so it’s not for the faint of heart. You truly have to love what you’re doing, and I do.”

Heath discovered gyotaku while traveling in China and Taiwan, and she has since done impressions of cubera snapper, black grouper, blacktip shark, tarpon, mahi mahi, permit, and kingfish. She has also depicted vermilion snapper in seaweed and multihued triggerfish on banana paper. Her signature is the white dot she paints in every fish eye, which she believes “gives the fish back its soul,” she says.

In a way, Heath replenishes her own soul with each print. She was a commercial real estate broker for 23 years before switching career paths three years ago. Working in a high-pressure corporate environment was the antithesis of her current livelihood. Her studio space is sacred, as it was once the residence of her late mother, Dorothy Odom. Linda and her husband, Read Heath, added on to the home vertically, with bedrooms and a kitchen on the upper level.

“In my studio, I’ll put some Sarah Vaughan or Ella Fitzgerald on the stereo and paint, and it makes me happy,” she says. “It is very calming for me.”

When Linda is not wielding rods and paintbrushes, she is cooking with filet knives and spatulas. The Heaths adore entertaining, and once Linda’s fish rubs are complete, the couple seasons and eats the seafood. The process of making the art and consuming the fish happens within the course of 24 hours, which requires serious planning. For example, to prepare her signature hogfish dish with Key lime aioli, Linda must first spear the hogfish in the water, rub it, and gut it. Depending on the size of the catch, the Heaths can feed anywhere from two to 10 people. It is a natural, sustainable undertaking, as each fish only travels a few feet from its habitat to the dinner plate.

“It is incredible what is right in our backyard, and we try to take advantage of it as much as we can in an eco-friendly way,” Heath says. “It’s a pretty spectacular way to live.”

The public response to Linda’s work has been spectacular, too. This season she will be exhibiting at 12 shows, lugging her dry-mounted impressions and giclée prints all over Florida.

Linda has donated art to and otherwise participated in various fundraisers benefiting such causes as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Manatee County, the 2011 De Soto Offshore Fishing Tournament, the Bradenton Yacht Club, and Mote Marine Laboratory. Her pieces can be found at such locales as 530 Burns Gallery in Sarasota, World Wide Sportsman (Bass Pro Shops) in Islamorada, the Riverhouse Reef and Grill in Palmetto, the BeachHouse Restaurant on Bradenton Beach, Star Fish Company Market and Restaurant in Cortez, and the Sandbar Waterfront Restaurant on Anna Maria Island.

Upcoming shows include the 13th Annual Downtown Delray Beach Thanksgiving Weekend Art Festival November 24 and 25 and the Estero Fine Art Show at Miromar Outlets in Estero on January 5 and 6.

Linda Heath: 941-713-0971;


Hogfish with Key Lime Aioli

fish printing

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scenes from harvest

The Phillippi Farmhouse Market


There’s something different about the Phillippi Farmhouse Market. You can feel it the minute you step out of your car on a Wednesday morning and plant your feet on the broad lawn.

“It’s literally a walk in a park over here,” says Vaughn DuFour, one of the Herb Guys, as he surveys the scene from a corner wagon stacked with baby vegetables and lacy-leaved herbs. “It’s absolutely beautiful.” He’s describing Phillippi Estate Park, the market’s venue.

At the 9 a.m. opening, an expectant hush rests over the market as the first customers make their rounds through the stalls. Tents and trucks range around a grassy quad where smiling vendors hand out samples of fresh-squeezed juice or ply customers with bites of crisp, tangy pickles. They greet everyone like old friends—which many of the customers really are, in fact. “We start to see the same people every week,” Maggie Balch comments over ice chests filled with shiny pink crab claws and thick slabs of fish. “The best part of this market seems to be that we are able to support locals.”

Though the market really begins to bustle as the sun climbs higher, it never loses that feeling of intimacy. Sellers take the time to tell you everything you would want to know about their products—where in the Gulf those fat lobster tails were caught, when to plant alyssum in a flowerbed, how they came to master gyotaku, the Japanese art form of “fish rubbing”—and the pride and satisfaction in their work shows clear as daylight.

This fall marks the Phillippi Farmhouse Market’s fourth season in operation. From the beginning it has remained true to it’s mission to share the seasonal bounty in Sarasota and promote the culture of farmers, culinarians, agriculturalists, and artisans it sustains.

“This market was set up to follow the Florida growing season,” says Priscilla Brown, program coordinator of Sarasota County Parks and Recreation. “[Its purpose] is to feature local growers and promote local.” And that goes for every participant in the market, from the woman dishing out soft-serve ice cream, to the live band that sends the sounds of golden oldies floating through the afternoon until the 2 p.m. closing.

As Brown explains it, “We want to promote local because it’s sustainable—you’re not paying for fossil fuels to truck it in from California, and you’re not bringing it in from a foreign country, having no idea what the growing and maintenance procedures were on the various fruits and veggies.” At the market’s several produce stands, you deal face to face with folks who brought the vegetables out of the ground and the fruit down from the tree. Brown’s Grove is a third-generation family operation whose oranges taste like straight-up sunshine. Honeyside Farms’ operators are the undisputed strawberry specialists of the market, and Geraldson Community Farms proudly offers certified organic edibles from Manatee County.

By Priscilla Brown’s reckoning, the Phillippi Farmhouse Market is also unique because its profits go back into the community—specifically into the renovation of the historic Keith Farmhouse that has stood here since 1916. Restorations to the exterior have been completed, and plans to restore the inside of the farmhouse will convert the structure into an interpretive center, preserving Sarasota’s history in photographs and artifacts. To date, the market has raised $29,000, and the center is projected to open in 2014.

But the market’s most impressive aspect is the strong sense of community among the vendors themselves. The personal and professional relationships forged directly through the market epitomize the value they share of supporting the local economy. The Purple Belle Ice Cream Truck and Leah’s Lemonade use fresh fruit from neighboring stands in their tasty, refreshing treats. Sean Moore lends “black gold” from his Green Leaf worm castings to invigorate the Herb Guys’ plants, and his “worm tea” helped Vincent and Ellie Simonetti at the Woof ’n Purr pet bakery to get rid of a ghost ant infestation. Market veterans recruit new talent each season, including Mark Webster, owner of the Happy Pickle. The Suncoast’s abundance of such weekday markets convinced Webster to move his business and settle in the area permanently.

“With so many markets during the week,” Webster says as he dips into a barrel of pickles packed in Bradenton only two days ago, “I can make a living from this as a full-time job.”

Phillippi Farmhouse Market:
5500 S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota; 941-316-1309;

fresh pasta

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men in the kitchen

Cooking for a Cause


Inside the “Blue Heaven” penthouse of the Longboat Key Towers, chef Jose Martinez of Maison Blanche is prepping white asparagus soup, duck breast, and berry soufflé.

U2’s “With or Without You” plays on the stereo as host Dean Eisner eyes Martinez’s techniques, thrilled to have the award-winning French chef in his kitchen.

Eisner, a consultant and former CEO of the Manheim automobile wholesale business, has invited three male and six female guests to a five-course gourmet dinner at his residence for the evening.

The ladies (Kimberly Manooshian, Kristi Bonsack, Mary Lou Johnson, Suzette Jones, Kim Carreiro, and Sandra Rios) are otherwise occupied while the men (Richard Dorfman, George Manooshian, and Greg Wall) are put partly in charge of culinary duties such as deveining shrimp and peeling vegetables.

“I have always had select knowledge of cooking but I’ve never had the confidence to cook for guests. This is a big help,” Eisner says. His male friends confess to having spent little or no time near a cutting board or stove.

scenes of men cooking

Hours earlier, Eisner and Martinez were ingredient shopping at Whole Foods Market to stock up for the evening’s festivities. They picked shallots, raspberries, blueberries, shrimp, black Mission figs, eggplants, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, as well as Masserie di Sant’Eramo extra-virgin olive oil from Italy and a 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

“I’ve always gone into a store and thought I knew what I was doing, but this was a whole new level of education,” Eisner says. “With vinegars and olive oils, I really had no idea which ones to choose. And Brussels sprouts I’d always hated; I used them as ammunition in college. I learned a lot today.”

Martinez typically offers these shopping/cooking demonstrations on Mondays when the restaurant is closed, and the host pays $500 for the lesson and the groceries. To express their gratitude, the attendees to Eisner’s soirée make donations to his three charities: Ringling College of Art and Design, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, and Mote Marine Laboratory.

“Chef Jose’s cooking classes are a bestkept secret in this area, and men have given this as a present to their wives for anniversaries,” says Patti Tripathi, a spokeswoman for Maison Blanche. “It was hysterical to see men who have never cooked peeling jumbo shrimp, taking layers off white asparagus, and making soufflé.”

It is a tremendous privilege for locals to learn alongside the chef, who earned a Michelin star for the Paris location of Maison Blanche and became a James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef South in 2010. “My cooking is pure and delicate, and I use fresh, seasonal ingredients,” Martinez says. “I try to keep the natural flavor in the food and let the food shine. At the end of the dinner, everybody should be satisfied.” Everyone clearly is, as they settle into their chairs, soak up the panoramic Gulf views, and savor every Parisian forkful.

Maison Blanche: 2605 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key; 941- 383-8088;


Shrimp and Peacocktail Avocado with Petal-Shaped Radish

Roasted Sea Scallops with Butternut Squash and Lettuce Cappuccino

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