Beans are an essential part of the delicious Indian, Provençal and Middle Eastern cuisines, but many home cooks in the United States are hesitant to use them. Eliza Sproat of HnL Enterprises wants to change that. Eliza and her husband developed the Quick-Cook Bean Pot that allows cooks to quickly and easily cook nutritious dried black beans, chickpeas, fava beans and more over the stovetop without overnight soaking. A native of Columbus, Eliza came across the inspiration for the pot in her husband's hometown of Cairo, where bean pots are an essential kitchen item.—Leah Wolf
Leah Wolf: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Eliza Sproat: I gravitate toward good food. In high school, an Indian restaurant opened nearby; as soon as I saw the sign go up, I was determined to work there. I ate Saag Paneer every night. Some time later I ate in a Slavic restaurant. The food was so good that I secured a job there that night. Then, before college, I worked in a Chinese restaurant both to enjoy the cuisine and to practice Chinese. Since 1993 I have pined for the tofu that tasted exactly like the smoked Gouda I learned about in a noodle shop while studying Chinese in Beijing.
When my husband and I were dating while students at OSU, he made a concoction I'd never tried before. It consisted of chopped lettuce and parsley, chopped veggies (the beautiful thing is most any raw vegetable works), oil, lemon, cumin, salt, pepper and fava beans. I was hooked. That was more than twenty years ago. When my husband was invited to share a bit about his culture at a local Boys & Girls Club here in Columbus, he took the same dish and the crowd there was as enthusiastic about it as I was.
With a passion for quality ingredients and an appreciation for entrepreneurs who share their delicious recipes with the world, Steve Barrish is helping to change grocery stores across America, one Luna Burger or frozen pretzel at a time. As Director of Sales and Account Management at Eat Well Distribution, Barrish is a key player in helping Columbus specialty foods producers get their products on shelves nationwide. Read on to learn about how a former promotions manager teams up with retail shops to bring artisan products to our kitchen tables.—Rebecca Wojno
Rebecca Wojno: Tell me about your background and how you went from working in promotions to being Director of Sales and Account Management at Eat Well Distribution?
Steve Barrish: I was hired on as Promotions Manager at PromoWest Productions soon after graduating from Ohio State in 2006 with a B.A. in Strategic Communication. I coordinated the Promotions Department which focused on grassroots and online marketing strategies for more than 400 concerts and live events each year.
In 2010, my wife Carly (who managed the Jeni's scoop shop at the North Market) and I decided volunteer for WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) in New Zealand. For eight months, we did work that ranged from weeding backyard gardens to thinning grape vines to caring for hogs, cattle, and chickens. The experience helped to bridge the gap that so many of us have when it comes to understanding what it takes to grow, raise, and properly prepare our food. It gave us a deep appreciation for whole foods, simple ingredients, gardening, and cooking.
When I returned, I was invited by Jeni's CEO John Lowe to an informal interview. He saw how the trip affected me, that I developed a passion for real food and a better food system, and appointed me the Director of Sales & Account Management with the launch of Eat Well Distribution in January 2012.
Elisa Rosen and her new web business, Jackeez.com, aim to change the way local farmers and artisan producers reach customers. Jackeez.com complements the traditional farmers market audience by giving producers access to national and international customers through an online marketplace. Site vendors offer everything from honey and fruit preserves to artisan cheese and fresh quail eggs—all healthy, high-quality products that represent the pride of the artisans and communities that produce them. —Leah Wolf
Leah Wolf: Tell us a bit about Jackeez.
Elisa Rosen: Jackeez.com began with a conversation I had with my husband and daughters a little less than a year ago. We have a lot of friends who are working and running farms, raising animals right, making artisanal cheese, growing organic produce, making biodynamic honey, foraging, producing beautiful jams, fudge, and the list goes on and on. Most of them are struggling to sell enough of their products to survive full-time at what they're doing because they don't have access to a large enough consumer base and rely only on local customers, which is extremely limiting.
We thought we could give them access to an unlimited amount of customers by building an online marketplace where everyone and anyone who produces artisanal, small-batch foods and related products could sell their products around the country and the world, and gain access to a market that previously only national chain stores could provide.
Lorraine Walker, owner of Silver Bridge Coffee, has created a high-quality coffee business from what originally started as a hobby of roasting beans in her kitchen. Lorraine has combined her love of coffee, a dedication to conscientious sourcing and her focus on freshness to create a unique product with a loyal following throughout Central Ohio. Silver Bridge Coffee participates in the Café Femenino program, which helps empower women around the world. Her new Silver Bridge Singles also allow coffee lovers to support local coffee while enjoying the ease of single serve cups that work with all major brewers. Read on to find out more about Lorraine's philosophy and the history behind Silver Bridge Coffee.—Leah Wolf
Leah Wolf: Can you tell us what first drew you to coffee?
Lorraine Walker: I have always loved coffee. My journey with coffee began as a simple need for caffeine while studying in college and grew to my one "luxury" item when I was a mother of young children. Then about 10 years ago my husband became interested in home roasting; he is always interested in learning new things. He ordered green coffee beans online and started roasting coffee in an old popcorn popper he had found at a thrift store. Tasting coffee that was freshly roasted was the truly a game changer for us because it was so much better than anything we were drinking. Soon we were roasting coffee and giving it out to family members and friends and even trying to show other people how to roast coffee at home.
Looking for a new cookbook to bring home? Check out North Market's new cookbook, full of more than 100 delicious recipes that bring to life the tastes and smells of our city's oldest market. The cookbook includes many recipes for foods you'll find in the market, as well as seasonal recipes from local chefs that celebrate the history and tradition of North Market. Below, find an excerpted recipe for Bigos, Polish Hunter's Stew from Hubert's Polish Kitchen, from . —Leah Wolf
Polish Hunter's Stew with Horseradish Sour Cream
Makes 6-8 servings
By Hubert Wilamowski
Hubert Wilamowski of Hubert's Polish Kitchen says he cooks dishes that most people can't even pronounce. His native dish (say "bee-ghos") is a savory Polish stew of cabbage and meat. Its name means "to douse," since Bigos is traditionally doused with wine. The centuries-old dish was originally made with wild game, but over time it has become a stew of many domestic meats. As with other stews, Bigos can be refrigerated and then reheated later—its flavor intensifies when reheated.
Columbus' very own Jan Kish has been recognized by Dessert Professional magazine as one of the Top Ten Cake Artists of North America 2013! Jan Kish of La Petite Fleur creates delicious masterpieces of every size and shape imaginable and we are so happy that she has been recognized for all her hard work. We want to share some of her thoughts about this honor, below.
Leah Wolf: What does it mean to you to win this award?
Jan Kish: Actually, it's not an award but rather a recognition of what I do with sugar and cake – fusing the two together to be not only appealing to the palate but also the eye. Since we eat with our eyes first, we want to follow through to be just as good taste-wise. To be recognized on such an international level is incredible! When they called I almost fell out of my chair, for I can think of many other individuals who should be on this list. It's a short list that covers a lot of territory and I was shocked and incredibly honored that my peers and then some would view my work in this light!