Alumni Spotlight Archives

Craig "Andy" Beardslee PCP '88

Joe Yonan PCP '00

Tina Oddleifson CCP '01: Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2010

Toni Chiappetta PCP '86: Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2010

Yvette Taylor PCP '06: Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2009

Ken Defazio PCP '94: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 7, Summer 2009

Bridget Collins PCP '87: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 7, Winter 2009

Mark Mombello '92: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 6, Fall 2008

Steven "Nookie" Postal '99: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 6, Summer 2008

Ellen Kaplansky '97: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 6, Winter 2008

Eunice Feller '06: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 5, Fall 2007

Suzanne Neuberth '05: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 5, Summer 2007

Rob McKeown '99: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 4, Winter 2007

Linda Guseman '04: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 3, Summer 2006

Laura Courtemanche '04: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 3, Spring 2006

Greg Reeves '03: Alumni Newsletter,Volume 3, Fall 2005

Eva Katz '89: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 4, Spring 2005

Julia Usher '96, CCP: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 2, Winter 2005

Stephanie Lucianovic '03, CCP: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 2, Fall 2004

Cynthia Flahardy '98, CCP: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 2, Winter 2004

Judy Mattera '89: Alumni Newsletter, Volume 1, Fall 2003

Lucia Osiecki '00 and Deborah Jones '99: Fall 2003

Mark Mombello PCP '92

by Julie Burba PCP '02, CCP

For Mark Mombello, working at Heinz is more about chocolate molten cake, paradise pie, and other delectables than it is about ketchup. Mombello, Senior Corporate Chef at Heinz North America, is responsible for recipe development for such national accounts as Chili’s, Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday, and TGI Fridays. “In a typical year,” said Mark, “we sell 8.9 million chocolate molten cakes to Chili’s.” And that’s just the “icing” on the cake!

Mark’s division is responsible for 400 items sold nationally to restaurants, supermarkets, club stores, and food distributors, focusing on desserts and hors d’oeuvres. “I have three people in my department,” Mark said. “We collaborate for meetings with a national account and come up with 15 ideas for a product, including taste, formula development, and weights, and bring it to the customer. We have to make sure that the recipe can be made at our facility and delivered in the form that the customer wants.”

According to Mark, industry trends for desserts currently demand small desserts, meaning his division will sell all the components and the restaurants will build the desserts from the parts. “It’s all collaboration between the customer, the servers, and the production side,” Mark said. “Sometimes the servers don’t want to cut the dessert. Whatever the product is, the customer must crave it. All of our accounts want a unique product, a big ‘wow’, one that their customers will turn into a ‘destination dessert.’”

Originally hired by Alden Merrell, Mark started out as the director of research and development creating new desserts for the chain. Heinz purchased Alden Merrell six years ago and Mark then moved into the position he has today. “I don’t have a typical day. I travel about one-third of the time. One day I might fly to Atlanta to visit Chili’s’ hors d’oeuvres facility to work on a new product and the next day I’ll go to Dallas or to a food show,” said Mark.

Mark enrolled at The CSCA in 1991. “I had a degree from Hobart College,” he said. “I didn’t have a job but I did work as a line cook in a local steak house, so I decided to go to culinary school. I went to CSCA because it allowed me to work at the same time.”

While a student at CSCA, Mark met Annette Fazio, who was in the January 1991 Professional Chef’s Program, and Annette’s business partner Kevin Leahy. Mark began working for Annette and Kevin at Fazio’s Italian Restaurant halfway through the PCP program. After leaving Fazio’s, he worked at Glenn’s Restaurant in Newburyport for 2 years. “I saw the position with Alden Merrell in the newspaper and applied,” said Mark. “I wanted to be home on nights and weekends. It was luck but also a natural progression of my career. I’m happy that I went to CSCA; it did push me forward in my career.”

“I recommend getting as much experience as you can in all the areas in the culinary world,” said Mark. “I do a little catering on the side. I get keyed up and nervous before serving but if I don’t get nervous going into it that’s when I make mistakes. I have to put myself into every job so that I’m well received. If you don’t, you can loose a bit of yourself.”

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Steven "Nookie" Postal PCP '99

by Julie Burba PCP '02, CCP

Steve 'Nookie' PostalRain on a Red Sox home game day tends to fill the fans with dread and yet it fills the kitchen employees of Fenway Park with a nervous sort of energy. “For us, the worst possible thing to happen on game day is rain delay,” said Steve “Nookie” Postal, executive sous chef at Fenway. “When it rains, everyone wants to eat, which means we get slammed.” On this particular rainy day in April, the fans outside the park weren’t the only people with concerned expressions on their faces; Nookie’s kitchen staff was in for a busy night indeed.

Nookie has been the executive sous chef at Fenway Park since May 2006. He and Executive Chef Ron Abell are in charge of the service for the exclusive EMC Club, the State Street Pavilion, the Absolut Clubhouse, luxury suites, in-seat service, and the owners, wives, media, and the front-office staff during home games. With more than 100 people working prep, line, and sauté stations, Nookie and crew serve about a ton of food during home games. “And that doesn’t even include non-game days,” he said. According to Nookie, Fenway does a tremendous catering business during away games and the off-season. The park rents the private suites, clubhouses, and Pavilion for wedding receptions, business meetings, private parties, and the like, serving everything from crudité and cheese plate stations, passed hors d’oeuvres, action-style buffets, to sit down dinners. “We operate Fenway Park like an enormous restaurant/function facility,” he said.

This is not your regular concession stand food. The menu in the EMC Club features Fresh Ricotta Ravioli with Short Ribs, Roasted Porterhouse Veal Chops and Semolina Gnocchi, and Grilled Striped Bass; although it changes for each ‘home stand.’ The notable thing about the menu is that it includes dishes with local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients. “It is really important to us to provide local and seasonal. The fish is from Captain Marden’s, the produce from Ward’s Berry Farm and Nesenkeag, and the meats are from Williams & Co. We buy local and seasonal as much as we can. The owners and team are on board and are behind us all the way. The park just started a compost and biodegradable program to deal with waste. We are very conscious of our contribution to the sustainable movement.”

Nookie’s philosophy to use local, seasonal, sustainable ingredients has been a part of his cooking repertoire since he attended The CSCA. After graduating from the Professional Chef’s Program in 1999, he began working at Casablanca with Ana Sortun, with whom he eventually worked at her restaurant, Oleana, before working at Fenway. He also worked at Icarus, where he first met Ron Abell, and then at Chez Henri. In between his Oleana and Fenway Park gigs, he traveled to Spain, northern Africa, and Italy for a year. Earlier in his career, he lived and worked in Umbria, Italy, making fresh pastas daily. Working with a half-dozen of Boston’s and Cambridge’s best chefs, Nookie’s cooking career is admirable and enviable to someone just starting out in culinary school. “I remember my first day at The CSCA," Nookie reminisces. “I made cream puff swans and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I remember watching the Frugal Gourmet andYan Can Cook on TV and loved it. I graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio with a degree in economics. I just knew I didn’t want to wear a suit and sit behind a desk at a bank. So I enrolled at The CSCA. Going there was a great experience,” he said.

“I recommend to anyone who is just starting out in their career or well into their career to ask questions, keep your ears open, focus, read, and never stop learning. We never stop pushing to do better here at Fenway. We push to do more and to do it better. It’s a cool place to work with great people. Just look at the view!”

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Ellen Kaplansky PCP '97

by Julie Burba PCP '02, CCP

The concept for Ellen “Elli” Kaplansky’s new business began one Thanksgiving when she decided to prepare only pies for dessert, “It was a Thanksgiving dessert spread any pilgrim could be proud of,” she said. Thus, the idea for Pie Bakery & Café was born. With the support of her husband, Ely, the idea became a reality in mid-December 2007. Pie Bakery & Café started with a love for pies and evolved into a concept feeding anyone’s desire for fresh pies—fruit, cream, savory, and hand pies. With the slogan, “There’s Always Room for Pie,” Pie Bakery & Café is the newest and most unique eatery to open in swanky Newton Center.

Making everyday pie day, Kaplansky partnered with longtime colleague Paige Retus, formerly the pastry chef at Olives Restaurant and co-author of The Olives Dessert Table. Retus serves as the business’ executive pastry chef and works with Kaplansky designing the menu. Elli hired Ryan Costigan PCP ’05 as the savory chef. With the mission to incorporate “pie” into every menu item, Elli and Paige have created conventional and unconventional pie offerings. “There is an element of pie in every item we make,” said Elli. “From the traditional sweet pies to the savory meat pies and hand pies, to the doughs used for our sandwiches and quiches, to the Shepard’s pie, empanadas, and spanikopitas. We even bake the brownies in a pie tin and cut them in wedges.”

The road to opening her second business was filled with valuable experience working with some of the city’s most respected chefs and pastry chefs. Kaplansky opened Elli’s Downstairs Café in Cambridge in the early 1990s. After operating it for five years, she sold the business and applied to the Professional Chef’s Program at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 1996. “I loved learning the basics, the foundation of cooking,” she said. “The program is perfect for so many people, I still recommend it.”

After graduating, Elli hoped to work for Jody Adams but instead accepted a job at Figs, working with pastry chef Heather McDonald. Three days a week she worked in the Figs commissary making pizza dough, focaccia, and Tuscan wheat bread and then worked in the restaurant making the desserts for service. Eventually, she did get her opportunity to work with Jody Adams as the opening pastry chef for Adams’ Red Clay in the Chestnut Hill Atrium. After working at Red Clay, she returned to Olives where she met Paige. She followed Retus to the Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill where they worked together until the launch of Pie Bakery & Café.

In a warm, inviting space in the heart of Newton Center, Pie Bakery & Café offers 24 tables and 8 seats along a dessert bar. “We really wanted to make it warm and comfortable so that our customers feel like they are guests and that they can hangout,” she said. The space offers WiFi, a sound system, and an open kitchen. “We have a flat screen TV hanging in the window with a live feed from the pastry kitchen so that people walking down the street can see what’s going on inside. It’s all very inviting and interactive,” she said.

Although the process of opening her business took nearly a year, the passion and enthusiasm for her pie concept is palpable. To put the concept in motion, she hired a business consultant whose business card she kept for 11 years. “He presented a seminar at The CSCA while I was a student. I contacted him last year and he said the same thing to me as he did to the class 11 years ago, ‘Don’t open a restaurant.’” Elli also hired an architect to help design the space. “I recommend to everyone who wants to open a business to do lots of research and talk to professionals to get legal and business advice. You need support from your family and business partners because creative passion doesn’t necessarily translate into being business-minded. Hire the right people to guide you and trust your support system without putting up the house!”

Pie Bakery & Café is located at 796 Beacon Street, Newton Center; 617-332-8743;

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Eunice Feller PCP '06

by Julie Burba PCP '02, CCP

Nestled on the corner of Madison Avenue and Walnut Street in Newtonville, Bread and Chocolate Bakery Café has established its place in the neighborhood in just a year’s time. “I call it the neighborhood front porch,” said Eunice Feller, owner of Bread and Chocolate. “In the mornings people sit at the tables out front having coffee and muffins, reading the paper and socializing. It reminds me of a big front porch.”

Feller and her husband, Steve, opened Bread and Chocolate Bakery Café on September 20, 2006, three months after Eunice graduated with honors from the Professional Chef’s Program at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. A year after the shop’s anniversary, Bread and Chocolate boasts more than 50 regular customers plus those who make the shop a destination and an impulse stop. “It’s a pleasant surprise when a new customer stops in and says they didn’t know there was a bakery in Newtonville,” said Feller.

Eunice’s journey to café owner was a long, although, not a surprising one. Born in St. Louis, Eunice’s family moved to California when she was five. She was educated in California, earning a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. She worked for the same art supply retail store for 20 years, starting off as a part-time cashier during her freshman year in college and working her way to VP of Marketing.

In the mid-1990s, at about midway through her retail career, Eunice applied to the California Culinary Academy. “I grew up with Wonder Bread, McDonald’s, and Vienna sausages in Missouri,” explained Feller. “After living in California I had been to the best bakeries and developed a love for gourmet food. I started reading Gourmet Magazine and cooking from it. You know how it is; people think you are a good cook because you can follow a recipe.”

However, the owners of the retail chain where she worked sold the business and the new owners offered Eunice a very lucrative package. She ended up staying with the business for another 10 years. While working for the chain store, Eunice moved to New York and eventually to Massachusetts. “After 20 years I was a part of the culture there,” she said. “I’ve been in retail my whole life and I love the experience of it!”

She and Steve knew they wanted to own their own business. They started looking for retail spaces in the area. “We didn’t know whether it would be a manufacturing business or a retail shop,” said Eunice. “We decided that we wanted to do something with food and started looking at bakeries.” At one point, they decided that one of them should get some training, so Eunice revisited culinary school. “We went to an information session at CSCA and within three weeks I started in the Professional Chef’s Program,” said Eunice.

While attending The CSCA, Eunice and Steve continued to look at retail spaces for their bakery. Eventually, they found the space occupied by Basil Tree in Newtonville. Painted in inviting soft green and yellows, the small shop has a cozy feeling with wrought iron tables and chairs, chalkboard menus, and Eunice’s food photography adorning the walls. The shop’s display cases are filled with mouth-watering European-inspired pastries including a variety of morning pastries, cakes, tarts, cupcakes, cookies, and packaged sandwiches, green salads, and cold salads. Steve’s welcoming smile greets customers as they enter the shop. Primarily, Eunice serves as the recipe tester and floats between the kitchen and the store front while Steve manages the counter and makes sandwiches. She has one full-time pastry cook and a dishwasher who also helps with prep and baking.

Eunice remains amazed with her good fortune. The shop has received The Reader’s Choice for Best Bakery by the Newton Tab, Best of the New by the Boston Globe, and was featured in The Girl’s Guide to a City Life, The Boston Globe Magazine, and Edible Boston. It isn’t just the press she’s received; it’s the welcome from the neighborhood that impresses Eunice. She and Steve know the café’s regulars by name, know where they vacation and when they’ll return, and their children’s interests. “People still print out our online menu and circle the items that they want for lunch,” said Feller. “I love that!”

The couple has learned many lessons about owning a business within the first year. Her advice to current CSCA students who plan to open a business is sound. “Work for someone else for 12 months, an entire cycle through the seasons. Learn the short cuts, what not to do, basically skip the trial and error,” she advises. Steve emphasized the following, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, “Make sure the business has a good business partner. The chef can’t be both chef and business manager.” “You have to trust your partner and staff,” adds Eunice. You have to give them room to grow and make mistakes.”

Bread and Chocolate Bakery Café is located at 108 Madison Avenue in Newtonville, MA. 617-243-0500.

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Suzanne Neuberth PCP '05

by Sharon Rice PCP '04, CCP

Suzanne Neuberth always wanted to cook. She had wanted to go to cooking school directly out of high school but was eventually persuaded not to by well-meaning family and friends. Instead, she found herself working in a variety of jobs, including hotel service, university meeting planning, and hotel sales. Ten years later, tired of the monotony of a desk job, she decided to finally fulfill her life-long dream of professional cooking. When she found The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, she knew she had found the place that would help make it happen. “It was a perfect fit,” Suzanne said. “The program is what you make of it, and I worked hard to learn as much as I could.” She took her studies seriously and as a result found it enormously helpful in jump-starting her cooking career.

Soon after starting at The CSCA, Suzanne was hired at Caffè Umbra in Boston, where she spent a year under chef/owner Laura Brennan, learning the ropes of working in a professional kitchen. “Chef Brennan loves to teach and mold her cooks, and I was very willing to learn. It was an invaluable experience for me,” Suzanne said. Starting on the garde manger station, responsible for all hot and cold appetizers as well as desserts, Suzanne eventually moved to the sauté station, where she handled all fish dishes.

Shortly after graduation, Suzanne joined the team at Via Matta, where she worked all the stations. “Via Matta was a good place to refine my skills,” she said. “I really had to focus on speed and knife skills, which are key in a busy kitchen.” Looking to further her on-the-job education, Suzanne ultimately joined the kitchen at Hamersley’s Bistro, under Chef/Owner Gordon Hamersley, where she’s been working for the past year. “Gordon is a real teacher. I’ve learned so much from working with him. It’s an ideal set-up for me. Really a perfect fit.”

At Hamersley’s, Suzanne started out on the garde manger station but was soon promoted to the grill. “I really love it, even though I burn myself all the time. As any of my classmates will tell you, I’m the Goldilocks of burns,” she said. Referring to her upcoming wedding this summer, she laughed, noting that she’s forcing herself to wear gloves so she doesn’t walk down the aisle covered in burn marks.

Suzanne is glad for her time at The CSCA and happy that she made the leap into professional cooking, even if it took her a while to get there. “Cooking is my passion; it’s what I do. I really love my job, burns and all. And having Gordon as a mentor has made a huge difference for me in my career. I’ll be able to use what I’ve learned at Hamersley’s—and Caffè Umbra and Via Matta—for the rest of my career. I feel very lucky.” Visit Suzanne at Hamersley’s Bistro, 553 Tremont Street, in Boston, 617.423.2700; she’d love to see you!

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Rob McKeown PCP '99

Rob McKeown works across the hospitality, design, and travel industries as a creative consultant. He’s regularly called on by celebrity designers like Adam Tihany and Andre Fu, celebrity chefs and owners like Patricia Yeo of Sa Pa, Neil Perry of Rockpool, E. Michael Reidt of Sevilla, Zak Pelaccio of Fatty Crab and 230 5th, Jean- Georges Vongerichten, and publishers like Tim and Nina Zagat for his expertise. He has worked with global hotel groups like Shangri-La and Banyan Tree, American Express, venture capitalists, and owners of billion-dollar conglomerates in Europe and North America to advise on a range of issues including real estate development, hotels, spas, market strategy, media planning, trends, and restaurants. In 2006 he was invited to curate a global summit called “Beyond Design” for the government of Singapore. The corresponding program of industry elite includes XinTianDi and Chicago’s Soldier Field master planner Ben Wood, Shanghai Tang designer Joanne Ooi, and Villa Moda owner Majed al-Sabah, among many others.

For years McKeown served as the first-ever greater Asia editor for foreign publications such as Gourmet (US), Travel+Leisure (US), and Gourmet Traveller (Australia). In the design world, he was one of the lead forces in style magazine Wallpaper*’s ever-expanding coverage of the East and, as editor-at-large, has also been instrumental in the rise of the regional publication, DestinAsian.

Rob has won awards for his research and work from Pacific Asia Travel Association and North American Travel Journalists Association for travel and lifestyle journalism, The James Beard Foundation for scholarship, and was one of only five people nominated worldwide as World’s Best Food Journalist at Melbourne’s prestigious World Food Media Awards. During 2005, he produced television documentaries about the tsunami disaster for NBC and CBS and served as a consultant for the Gemini Award-nominated production, China Rises, a four-hour series recently released by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The New York Times. A “60 Minutes” segment he created won two Emmy Awards in the 2006.

McKeown’s ability to connect industry gaps and rising trends to business opportunities is helped by the intelligence foundation he developed. His experience has spanned art direction, fine foods, and 5-star line of chef stints from Boston and New York to Hong Kong and Bangkok. He maintains an unrivaled global, Middle, and Far Eastern database of local-language data and international reports that is updated daily and culled from Ivy League professors, on-the-ground correspondents, and key groups of consumers alike. It is from this varied base of scholarly, hospitality, and media-based research that his consultancy, Mangkut, works to unify concepts from creation through to design, front and back of the house development, to media planning, SOP, and business models.

On the cultural and scholarship front, McKeown is regularly invited as a symposiast and lecturer to universities such as Oxford in the United Kingdom and Tufts University in the United States. Conversational in Thai and Mandarin, he travels on average to five–seven countries a month and visits thousands of hotels, restaurants, and hospitality concepts a year to keep current on trends. In all, he has worked in over 50 countries and traveled to many more during his career. McKeown works with Winkreative, the European-based creative media firm owned by Wallpaper* founder Tyler Brule as its Asia consultant. He works independently through his own company, Mangkut, which works with clients on four continents across dozens of industries.

Roberta and Bill Dowling recently met up with Rob in Hong Kong. Look for his recent articles in the December Food & Wine column “Where to go next: Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Taipei;” and upcoming in the Boston Globe travel section.

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Linda Guseman PCP '04

by Sharon Rice PCP '04, CCP

Three years ago, Linda Guseman '04 felt trapped in a job she hated and desperately wanted to quit. Hoping to utilize a life-long love of cooking, she decided to attend an open house at CSCA. "I was so impressed," Linda recalled. "Here was a group of people in the same situation—discouraged and unfulfilled in their current jobs and all of them wanting to pursue their passion for food."

Encouraged by a supportive husband who pushed her to do what she loved instead of staying in a job she detested, Linda became a student in the fall of 2003. Studying didn't come easy for Linda, but she spent hours pouring over notes and making so much puff pastry that her husband gained ten pounds—and persevered. "It was a great experience for me, although I spent a lot of time agonizing over every upcoming quiz," she said. "Despite all the stress, I knew this was where I needed to be, and I did what I had to do."

When she started thinking about what she'd do after graduation, Linda knew that she wanted to work in fine dining and would accept nothing less. She also realized that she wanted to work in her own community. Just before graduation, she started working the garde manger station for the Lafayette House in Foxboro, a historic fine-dining restaurant founded in 1784 whose guests included George Washington and Ben Franklin.

Linda credits her time at CSCA as the reason the restaurant owner hired her despite having no experience in the food industry. "If it wasn't for my training at the school and what it prepared me to do, it wouldn't be possible for me to do what I'm doing now," she said. "The instructors are fabulous, very patient, and great teachers." She is particularly grateful for the quality of her Basics education and the tutelage of Chef Stephan. "He set it up, got me focused, and provided the foundation for the creativity that came later. He pushed me, always looking over my shoulder and gave me the tools I needed to move through the program and into a professional kitchen. He really made a difference in my culinary training."

After three months at the Lafayette House, making more platters than she wants to remember, Linda asked to move to the hot side of the kitchen, taking over the grill and ovens. After a year on those stations, she was offered a job at another local restaurant as general manager. But after six months, the owner sold the restaurant, so she returned to the Lafayette House. Three months later, she was promoted to manager of the restaurant, overseeing three function rooms and two dining rooms that seat 250 people. She does a little bit of everything—customer service; coordinating functions for weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs; training; and opening and closing the restaurant. She even tends bar when she gets a chance. But Linda didn't want to lose her connection with the kitchen, so despite all these new responsibilities, she still spends one 12-hour day every week on the grill. "It's my passion," Linda said. "The reason I went to culinary school. I like being a manager, but I can't give up cooking. I truly love it."

"I am so grateful to the school for giving me the quality training I needed to get a job in fine dining. When I started at the restaurant, I wasn't physically prepared for the work I had to do. For the first month, I came home every night in tears. It's hard work, but I built up a tolerance. And luckily, I didn't have to worry about technique; I was prepared for that part of the business, although I had a lot to learn about expediting. But I still 'salt my water like the sea!'"

Because the restaurant is so close to Gillette Stadium, the Lafayette House at times caters New England Patriots opening day events for guests such as Elton John and Toby Keith. Catering is a big part of the restaurant's business, and Linda is always scheduling events. It's a part of the job she enjoys—working with customers and making sure they have the best event possible. But she still hears the call of the kitchen and cooks at home all the time. "I'll always cook," she said. "It's who I am."

If you are interested in visiting Linda at the Lafayette House, it's located on Route 1 Foxboro, 508-543-5344. She'd love to see you!

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Laura Courtmanche CCP '04

On a sunny Monday afternoon, Laura Courtemanche ’04 and her assistant Yvette Taylor ’06 can be found in the Nuestra Culinary Ventures Kitchens in Jamaica Plain making sugar cookie dough. “I have an order for 210 cookie tins to send off to Dallas,” said Courtemanche, owner of A Dozen Eggs, the area’s new specialty sugar cookie company. Her iced sugar cookies have been the feature of a segment on the Food Network’s Recipe for Success program and the Phantom Gourmet proclaimed her Beantown cookie collection to be their “hidden jewel” this past January.

Laura, a graduate from the Culinary Certificate Program (CCP), launched A Dozen Eggs in 2004. “I had started catering, making lunches and salads and delivering to clients,” she said. “It got to be too much so I started to focus on making only dog treats and cookies. I found that there wasn’t much of a profit in the dog treats. I started concentrating on the iced cookie after I catered a party at a place called Cameron Perks in Virginia, where I made iced cookies based on children’s book themes: Cat in the Hat, Ducklings, and Green Eggs and Green Ham. I had so much fun making the cookies I knew that this was it. I offered our first cookie tin collection for Christmas 2004,” said Laura. Since then, Dean & Deluca regularly feature A Dozen Egg cookie tin collections in its seasonal catalogues and Lionette’s and A Garden of Eden in Boston’s South End, Savenor’s on Charles Street in Boston, and Pemberton Farms on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge sell her cookies.

“We received over 400 e-mails immediately after A Dozen Eggs was featured on Recipe for Success. I knew we had made it then.” The road to a successful cookie business hasn’t been easy. After spending 18 years working and managing at Learning Smith, FAO Schwartz, and Filene’s Basement, Laura traded cash registers, stock rooms, and clothes racks for piping bags, sheet trays, and Hobart mixers. Like many other CSCA students, Laura left a career in which she was no longer happy. She gave notice at Filene’s Basement in 2002 and applied for a kitchen assistant position with Cook’s illustrated magazine. “It was basically a dish washing position,” said Laura, “but I didn’t care. I was so miserable at Filene’s Basement I needed to make changes.” Laura began the Culinary Certificate Program at CSCA in September 2003. “I had applied to Johnson and Wales when I graduated from high school, but I didn’t go. This was my chance to finally go to culinary school,” she said.

Laura graduated from the CCP program with high honors. As a student, she entered and won a cake contest; her carrot cake was deemed Best of Show. After graduation, she was hired at Hamersley’s Bistro as a pastry assistant. She worked there for 6 months before opening A Dozen Eggs. An owner of ‘hundreds and hundreds and hundreds’ of cookie cutters (some of which have never been used!), Laura’s family history is rich with cooking and baking. Her grandmother and mother both received culinary educations at the Boston Cooking School and Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery. “My family are my biggest influences, oh and Martha Stewart; she is just wonderful,” said Laura. “I had the opportunity to tour her home in Maine with my mother. It was one of the most fabulous and beautiful places: the food, the lunch, the décor, the house, the property.”

In the past two years, Laura has made specialty cookies for the Museum of Science Star Wars exhibit opening party and Harry Potter cookies for a book signing party and has sold several thousand cookie tins through mail order and catalogue order. Her collections include Beantown, Make Way for the Penguins, Spring, Mother’s Day, Birthday, Specialty, and Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day. Laura has some exciting expansion plans for the future, including incorporating specialty cakes to complement the cookie collections into the business. Her advice for new culinary students, “Don’t ever doubt yourself!”

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Greg Reeves PCP '03

What do Environmental Science degree and oysters have in common? More than the ocean! CSCA graduate Greg Reeves is currently Chef de Cuisine with B&G Oysters in Boston.

Originally from just outside Philadelphia, Greg attended the University of New Hampshire where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. He landed in Boston in hopes of finding a job in his field. However, because he had been working in various restaurants and pizzerias since he was fourteen, Greg resumed to the food industry while job-hunting. Like many in the industry, he became hooked.

After working in the industry as garde manger and pastry prep at Audubon Circle Restaurant and Bar in Kenmore Square and 29 Newbury Street Restaurant in Boston, he graduated to line cook at Aquitaine Bar and Vin Bistro. Greg spent two years in the South End. It was half way through his time with Aquitaine when he decided to take culinary arts more seriously and attend professional training. Before he left Aquitaine, Greg was the brunch sous chef and lead line cook.

He graduated from the Professional Chef’s Program in 2002. While in school, he joined Amanda Lydon at Upstairs on the Square in Cambridge. His two-year tenure there included holding a sous chef position under Susan Regis at Monday Club Bar, the sister restaurant at the same address.

Today, Greg is Chef de Cuisine under Barbara Lynch at B&G Oysters in Boston. His role also includes being a team member of Niche Catour, a newly developed highend catering company under the direction of Chef Lynch. Greg collaborates with the chefs of No. 9 Park and The Butcher Shop in this effort.

Greg is someone to look for in the future of Boston’s eateries.

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Eva Katz PCP '89

Eva received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Business Administration from Suffolk University. She was employed in the corporate world for a short time. Not quite satisfied, she gravitated toward boating. She joined the crews of small boats as their chef. It was then that she realized just how much there was to learn in the culinary arts.

She attended the Professional Chef’s Program at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and received her chef’s diploma. After a bit of traveling, she returned to the School full-time as Director of Continuing Education and Chef Instructor in Food Basics. Eva has spent the past ten years of her culinary career in recipe development, food writing, and food styling for magazine publications, such as Cooks Illustrated, Natural Health, Fine Cooking, Yankee Magazine, Boston Magazine, Walking Magazine, Australian Good Taste, Australian Gourmet Traveler, and Murdoch Magazines and has contributed to numerous cookbooks published by Boston Common Press and Little, Brown & Company. Prior to this, she worked in almost every aspect of the food industry as a chef, caterer, instructor, and administrator and was the director of the test kitchen for Cook’s Illustrated.

In addition to being a chef instructor in both New England and Australia, Eva has worked at a variety of restaurants across the globe, including the four and half star Seasons Restaurant at the Bostonian Hotel in Boston, aboard private yachts in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, and as a consultant to a restaurant in the Dominican Republic, among others. She has appeared as a guest chef on TV segments including “Smart Women,” a nationally syndicated cooking segment on Ivanhoe Broadcast News; “Mosaic,” a multi-cultural affairs show on WLVI-TV in Boston; and on Boston’s Channel 56 “Ten O’Clock News Life Watch.”

Currently, Eva is an associate editor of Cook’s Country, a new sister publication of Cook’s Illustrated, and was instrumental in its development. The magazine shares the fondness of country food and all that goes with it. Its charter issue was released this Spring.

Eva is an active member of the School’s Program Advisory Committee. She is the recipient of a Scholarship Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and is a member of the Women’s Culinary Guild. Eva currently resides in Jamaica Plain, MA, with her husband Philip Sugerman and sons, Ari, 5, and Gabriel, 3.

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Julie Usher PCP '96, CCP

Cake and dessert designer Julia Usher has never eaten a boxed cake and has always ordered dessert before her main course. Though formally trained at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Usher's make-it-yourself approach and eclectic decorating style come from her mother, a self-taught baker, herb gardener, and collector extraordinaire.

In 1995, while still in culinary school and planning her own wedding, Usher was left distraught by the plethora of bland white cake and unimaginative cake designs on the market. She knew that, by combining intense flavor and high style, a well-designed dessert could cast a magical mood on its takers. Barely down the aisle, she opened AzucArte, a boutique bakery specializing in such sweets. After seven years in business, Usher has custom-made thousands of desserts for society weddings and other special events. Her attention to what's in, on, and around her sweets has put her at the forefront of dessert design.

Usher's desserts and cakes have graced the cover of Chocolatier and the pages of Vera Wang on Weddings, Pastry Art & Design, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Bride's, and St. Louis Bride magazines. Usher recently co-authored an article on holiday cakes that appeared in Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. More of her work will appear there in 2005, as well as in Chocolatier and a collaborative cookbook published by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Her desserts have also been showcased at the James Beard House in New York City. She is a former President of the St. Louis Culinary Society and a member of IACP. Usher is currently busy on her own book — a hybrid cookbook and party planning guide — which highlights many of her fantastic confections.

In addition to her culinary achievements, Usher holds degrees in mechanical engineering from Yale University and the University of California - Berkeley, and a Master’s of Business Administration from Stanford. When she's not baking, Usher shuttles between St. Louis, Missouri, and Stonington, Maine, where she enjoys quiet time with her incredibly patient and supportive husband.

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Stephanie Lucianovic PCP '03, CCP

After graduation in the summer of 2003, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic moved to San Francisco with her husband where she started freelance editing/ writing for various food magazines, cookbook publishers, and MSNBC. She puts in time as a recipe developer and test kitchen chef for Chow magazine—the magazine will be launching nationwide in the fall of 2004—and has enjoyed being a part-time cheesemonger at Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building, which has led her to do some personal cheese consulting for catering companies and private individuals. She recently accepted a job as a full-time editor at Weldon Owen where she will be handling a new line of Williams-Sonoma cookbooks called “The Mastering Series.” They wanted a seasoned editor with a culinary background and thanks to CSCA, they got her.

Stephanie is a member of the CSCA Alumni Board of Directors.

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Cynthia Flahardy PCP '98, CCP

Cynthia Flahardy was always fascinated with food. She knew there was more to cooking than following a recipe. After years of risk-taking dinner parties, she decided to attend a professional cooking school. She commuted over two hours to the CSCA from Chester, NH. She graduated from the Professional Chef Program in 1998. While attending School, Cynthia worked at the historic Exeter Inn, rotating as a baker and a dinner cook.

She had always admired the Inn and was thrilled to be employed there while still attending culinary classes. From there, she found herself at the four-star Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, NH, where she worked for three years as a baker and as a member of the catering staff. In addition to these positions, Cynthia served as a teaching assistant for the School. It was during that time that she gained additional experience and learned how to teach.

Following her time as a teaching assistant, Cynthia taught many recreational classes for the School, specializing in Italian cuisine. Soon after, she began teaching Basics for the Culinary Certificate Program. She was popular with the students and was more than satisfied with her new career.

After an intense year as a culinary student, over three years of assisting chef/instructors and industry experience, teaching both recreation and professional cooking classes for an additional three years, Cynthia was approached by a childhood friend to be involved with an exciting new venture; Eurostoves, Inc. Eurostoves markets European cooking stoves, appliances, cutlery, and cookware. As the Culinary Director and Executive Chef for Eurostoves, Inc., she will design the culinary program and recipe development, featuring European appliances and kitchenware offered by Eurostoves. She will also govern the chef instructors for its culinary education program. Eurostoves will be opening “The Culinary Centre” in Beverly, MA, in February 2004. This location will allow patrons to admire the showroom and take cooking classes on various European stoves, enabling them to make the best choice for their needs. Cynthia is currently researching plans for a second location in Los Angeles, CA.

Cynthia considers her training at the CSCA and experience as a chef instructor, along with her restaurant experience, crucial to her preparation for this new challenge. She is also a member of the CSCA Alumni Association Board of Directors.

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Judy Mattera PCP '89

Judy Mattera was a top-paid RN with Mass General Hospital for over twelve years. She assisted in the emergency room and in the operating rooms, including open heart surgery. At the time, her family was expanding and unlike hospital benefits today, it was not easy for women to manipulate their schedules to accompany family life. Although she thrived on the fast-pace environment and enjoyed the intensity of her day, she needed a change.

Judy began taking recreational cooking classes with Madeleine Kamman in the late 1980s. She attended CSCA in 1988 under Madeleine’s recommendation. She graduated from the Professional Chef’s Program with honors in 1989. Following graduation, she was a teacher’s assistant for CSCA as well as the first cook with the former Fat Fingers Catering business in Marblehead, MA. She received additional culinary training with Chef Ewald Notter at the International School of Confectionery Arts in Gaithersburg, MD. Four years later, she found herself at the base of what is now known as Todd English’s restaurant franchise.

In 1993, Judy joined Chef Barbara Lynch at the original Figs. She and two other women began baking homemade breads for the first Olives in a small “back room bakery.” She later became the pastry chef for Olives.

In 1996 Judy became the pastry chef for Grill 23 & Bar. It was here that she met Sommelier Alicia Towns. Alicia encouraged her to attend wine seminars and experiment with wine pairings. Her new interest in wine lead her to the Federalist, known for its wine selection. She began pairing desserts as their pastry chef.

By 2001, Judy had worked as a cook, bread maker, pastry chef, and orchestrated wine pairings. Her expertise was expanding. Through Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR), she received a scholarship and completed “Mastering Wine” at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, CA. She is now a free-lance consultant currently working with Robert Mondavi Family of Wines. She now pairs both sweet and savory food items with Mondavi selections. Judy recently returned from Italy after meeting with Mondavi partners.

She has been featured in such magazines as Sante, Pastry Art & Design, Chocolatier, Chef, and McCall’s. Her awards include Editor’s Choice for best dessert in City Search, the Reader’s Restaurant Poll Award for best dessert in Boston Magazine, and top honors for dessert in the Zagat Survey. The Boston Globe featured her as one of “The Poets of Pastry.” She has appeared on Boston Cable News’ “Chef’s Corner” and Channel Five’s “Chronicle” in a segment entitled “Just Desserts.” Judy is the Local Exchange Coordinator in Boston for WCR.

Judy believes in networking and in the ability to maximize new experiences. She has consistently avoided making lateral moves in her career, focusing on new and better opportunities. She will host the first CSCA Alumni Networking Social on Monday, October 20. She will pair one savory and two sweet items with three choices of the Mondavi collection.

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Lucia Osieki PCP '00 and Deborah Jones PCP '99

The Meadowlark Inn
West Brattleboro, VT

You can find Lucia and Deborah surrounded by panoramic views of Vermont and New Hampshire hillsides from their magnificent Meadowlark Inn locate in West Brattleboro, VT.

Deborah and Lucia each spent over 25 years in the health care profession prior to taking the plunge into the culinary/hospitality field in search of living their dream.

They purchased the Meadowlark Inn in July 2002. To prepare for their endeavor, both Lucia and Deborah worked at the four-star rated Stonehedge Inn in Tyngsboro, MA. Deborah was the assistant Pastry Chef to Chef Nikki Schaeffer and breakfast chef. Lucia was the first woman on the line (the kitchen was very old European) and worked Garde Manger under Chef Jon Matheison. Deborah also worked as a Pastry/Breakfast Chef at the Colby Hill Inn in Henniker, NH. However she learned most about the business of cooking breakfast at Cafe Amore in Ogunquit, ME.

Deborah and Lucia spent 15 years preparing for their successful project. In addition to the CSCA, both women learned skills in gardening (Deb is a Master Gardener), took business courses and "innkeeper" classes.

The "invaluable" training from the CSCA and the 15 years of dedication and determination have allowed Deborah and Lucia to "live their dream" in a restored 1870's farmhouse. Congratulations!

Deborah and Lucia will host an alumni networking social on Monday, March 8, 2004. Please see the events calendar for more details.

Inset picture: Lucia on left, Deb on right.
Photo by Arthur Foti.

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