q & a with liz wienclaw

I wrote several weeks ago about my first experience at Pier W. Almost a month later, and I’m still thinking about those crab legs and the peanut butter bomb dessert. I found myself back at Pier W the following week, this time for an article for West Shore magazine. The focus of the piece was on area pastry chefs and their signature dessert. I was lucky enough to interview pastry chef Liz Wienclaw, the woman behind that delectable dessert, and try another one of her popular items: the earl grey creme brulee.

1. What are the top 5 spices every home chef/baker should have? Cinnamon, nutmeg, Cajun seasoning, cumin and cayenne pepper.

2. What is your favorite and least favorite thing to make? Anything that is non-traditional – different flavor combinations that you would not think go together. Least favorite… I don’t know, I enjoy making everything.

3. What is your favorite thing about Cleveland and what drives you nuts? The people. People here are hard workers, they struggle and get by – all with a smile on their face. I love this city. The good and the bad; it makes us who we are.

4. If you could cook for one person, real or dead, who would it be? Bette Middler. I think we would get along fabulously!

5. You’re having a dinner party, top 5 songs on your play list? Oaisis – Wonderwall, Billy Joel – Piano Man, Jewel – you were meant for me, Kelis – I’m bossy, Sponge- Sixteen Candles. I do not know if I would play these at a dinner party but these are my absolute favorite songs. Weird collection, I know.

6. Favorite restaurant in Cleveland? Lolita hands down. I love the roasted date appetizer.

7. What’s your last meal on Earth? Roast chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes. But only if my mom is making it.

8. Most unusual food you have ever tried? Lambs heart – and tried is the key word. I also do not think it was cooked the correct way in my defense.

9. Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines? I would say sorry Betty, I’m going with Duncan.

10. Where do you grocery shop? Usually Giant Eagle. I love their international aisle I try to make my own sushi all the time. I love the Westside Market but rarely get down there

11. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? Probably wishing I was a chef! Anything that could bring a smile to someone else’s face. That’s why I love what I do, people light up when food is around. It always brings good times.

12. If you could visit any restaurant in the world, which one would it be? Wylie Dufresne restaurant WD-50. He does things with food that you would think are impossible.

13. What is one easy dessert everyone at home could make? Cheese cake. Everyone probably already has the ingredients in their house. The key to it is just to scrape the mixing bowl over and over again.

14. Favorite TV show? Any reality show on VH1.

15. Favorite kitchen gadget? I don’t have a favorite but let me tell you, I have more gadgets that clothes!


  1. Steve
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The roasted dates at Lolita are absurd, the one time I had them. Just imagine how good they are out in L.A. where we’re an hour from date county.

  2. Allison M.
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Liz and I would get along – I love all the trashy VH1 reality shows.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Any girl who picks Sponge’s Sixteen Candles as a fav song has got to be a cool girl.