Co-president Crickett Karson, of Lief & Karson Communications, says mentoring and education are the chapter's major goals. "This isn't a business opportunity," she says. "It's not for marketing or self-promotion. It's a chance for women in the industry to learn from their colleagues' expertise and mentor one another in doing what they love."
So far, the dames have had a chocolate-tasting, taken an insider's tour of the new InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center, and participated in last week's annual Farm-to-Table benefit at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. They are also gearing up for the annual international conference in Chicago this October. All of which sounds like great fun for the members, but why should your average foodie give a fig?
"Whenever the culinary community improves itself," says Karson, "it raises the bar. We bring it all into our businesses, whether we're chefs, writers, consultants, or whatever." Besides, notes charter member Frantz, anything that can create a stronger, more unified food scene is important to Cleveland, a town that's still struggling to secure its culinary street cred.
Contact Karson at 216-831-3767 for more information.
In a partially related development . . . After little more than two years, owners Maureen and Mark Reich have closed Varietals Wine Bar and Café, their friendly little bistro in Cleveland Heights. Maureen Reich says that despite having a core of loyal patrons, sales fell off by more than 25 percent following the openings at Legacy Village and Eton-Chagrin. "I believe we were in a great spot in town, had a fantastic concept, but Clevelanders as a whole flock to whatever is new and pretty and has a name they've heard of," Reich wrote in a recent e-mail. "I think only one-half percent of people would even pay attention to a little privately owned place like ours [while] the rest are waiting in line at the Cheesecake Factory."