cleveland magazine: the tastemakers

I finally got around to going through last week’s mail, which included my copy of Cleveland Magazine with Michael Symon, Karen Small and Dante Boccuzzi on the cover. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this issue, which focuses on taste, because I had the pleasure of interviewing both Dante and Karen, as well as Jonathon Sawyer and Jonathan Bennett for the special section.
I had such a good time interviewing each of these talented chefs. First there was Dante, who was surprisingly a little shy but definitely had that mysterious cool vibe going for him. Talking to him was very easy, maybe because he looks like (and reminds me of) half my family members.
Then there is Jonathon Sawyer, who talks even faster than I do. This guy is full of energy and passion and is unbelievable nice. The day I interviewed him, his wife and kids were in the restaurant – talk about a beautiful family. There was such a buzz at Bar Cento that night; it made me miss my bartending/serving days.
As for Jonathan Bennett, he reminds me of the guy next door – the type of person you would want to fix your friend up with. Genuinely friendly and easy to chat with.

Last but definitely not least, Karen. I was the most excited – and nervous – for this one. I have been trying for nearly a year to snag an interview for the blog, only to learn that she pretty much avoids computers and typing altogether! She was also very pleasant – and busy, everyone wanted to talk with her. Much like Sawyer, her passion for the local farmers really shined during our conversation.

Between this article and the blog interviews in general, I have really been fortunate to get to know the people behind the plates a little better. I am just as impressed by the overall kindness, generosity of time and passion as I am with the food itself. What a group we have here.


  1. Alexa
    Posted April 30, 2008 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    funny how i am just reading this post now as i literally just finished reading the issue. while reading i thought to myself that i was going to email you a congratulations! a comment is good enough right?

    so exciting michelle : )

  2. michelle v
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Alexa!!