Although the title of “top chef” is often conferred upon culinary masters of the male persuasion, this year the Flower Show has a generous representation of female foodie professionals. Some, like Christina Pirello, are veterans in the field. Others, like Maki Evans owner of Cupcakes Gourmet in Malvern, PA, are newer to the scene. Nonetheless their reputation for quality eats and buzz-worthy creations all stem from a collective passion for food.
Beth Kennett is a farmer who, with her husband, runs Vermont’s Liberty Hill Farm Inn. This fully functional farm and bed and breakfast provides guests with an authentic down home getaway. Beth’s cows produce milk for the famed Cabot Creamery Co-op, makers of America’s best cheddar cheese. Her cooking is inspired by family tradition. “My grandmother cooked from the heart, out of love. It’s with that same spirit that I serve my guests, welcome them into my home to experience life on the farm.”
The importance of service is also key to Cupcakes Gourmet proprietor Maki Evans. “Humility, pleasing the customer, diligence, efficiency are all important when starting your own venture,” says Maki who credits her passion for parties and love of celebration as a driving force behind her upscale bakeries and custom cupcake business.
Rachel Gaffney, dubbed the Irish Martha Stewart, has grown her desire to educate others and celebrate her heritage into a blossoming cooking and textile empire. “The Irish love to tell stories, and I guess you could say I’m both proud and passionate about telling the story of Ireland.” Rachel does so eloquently with a delicate brogue that is almost as pleasing to the ear as her baking is to the belly. Even the novice baker can learn to perfect Gaffney’s Traditional Irish Butter Shortbreads by checking out the interactive cooking classes on her blog.
Christinia Pirello is a household name. A pioneer of raw foods cooking, organic eating and the field-to-table lifestyle and philosophy, Pirello has long been an educator and food visionary. When asked about the rising popularity of the natural food trend Pirello is frank, “The word ‘natural’ has become meaningless with all the hype we see, but all in all the country has a greater awareness of natural and organic food that in did not have previously. Cooking with natural ingredients ignites my passion, “ says Pirello, “So let your passion drive you and be true to who you are.”
Culinary passion will be on display throughout the week at the Flower Show in Room 204C. Catch Maki Evans at noon on Wednesday, March 9. Beth Kennett follows Maki at 1:30pm and Christina Pirello will take over the stage on Thursday, March 10 at noon.