Catherine St. John, Owner/School Director of WRSOC
Catherine St. John has been working in the Culinary field for more than 25 years. A native of the San Francisco Bay area, she was a part of one of the first graduating classes of the Tante Marie’s Cooking School (1984) in San Francisco. She has worked in many areas of the culinary field, including as a Chef, Caterer, Culinary Teacher and Consultant. Catherine moved to Ohio in 1992 with her husband and first child. Currently Catherine lives in Hudson, Ohio where she and her husband moved in 1994 when she began teaching at the Western Reserve School of Cooking (then the Zona Spray School of Cooking). In 2007 she and her husband Carl bought the school. Catherine teaches many of the professional and non professional classes at the school. In 2011, Lisa Abraham (food writer for the Akron Beacon Journal) with Catherine introduced a cookbook titled Fabulous Chefs and Famous Recipes, chronicalling recipies from teachers at the school and the famous guest chefs who have visited over the years. In addition to running the WRSOC and teaching classes, Catherine has also appeared multiple times on local news station Fox 8 demonstrating various cooking techniques. She has focused mainly on teaching people how to cook for the past 20 years.
Tina is the Pastry Director for the WRSOC, a pastry chef/food service consultant with Albert Uster Imports and a member of the organizing team for the annual World Pastry Forum. She is also on the Culinary Academy Advisory Council for Polaris Career Center. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition from Case Western Reserve University and is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in NYC. She attended the University of Sorbonne and has apprenticed in Paris, France. A pastry chef at some of New York’s finest restaurants, she has taught the art of pastry to chefs in the U.S. and Japan.
A 1999 Graduate of Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. In the fall of 2000, her externship finished up in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom where SynDee apprenticed under the Master Pastry Chefs of the Grande Floridian and many other Disney resorts. SynDee came home in the late year of the millennium to gain experience as an Executive Chef of the Brown Derby and Outlook Pointe, both in Cleveland, Ohio. Her business, Indulgence, started rapidly growing as well as her pastry opportunities. SynDee went on to lead her own team as the Executive Pastry Chef at Shaker Heights Country Club. SynDee and her partner Wendy Thompson opened A Cookie and A Cupcake located in Tremont, Ohio, in 2008. They have won many awards, including Best Cupcake by the Cleveland Magazine, and Scene Magazine.
Jennifer is a graduate from the pastry program at WRSOC who enjoys baking bread and desserts for private clients. She holds Advanced Certification in Wine from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Wine. Jennifer recently served as the sole recipe tester for Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads by CirilHitz and her recent articles about baking have appeared in Dessert Professional magazine.
Anne is a bit of a food freelancer. She is the owner of On the Spot Gourmet, a personal chef company but also does an array of other activities where she shares her lifelong love of cooking. A former college basketball coach and wellness instructor, Anne is graduate of WRSOC. She is a regular guest chef at Auburn Twin Oaks Winery for featured wine and food dinners, teaches both privately and at WRSOC, and does an array of other specialized food events such as interactive cooking parties, culinary team building and tasting menu dinner parties. Anne has a passion for international travel and the culinary traditions that allow food to be a vehicle for exploring the world.
Tom’s career spans many years as a restaurant chef, corporate chef, and culinary instructor. Tom was the executive chef and co-owner of the highly rated French restaurant L’armagnac. He taught for 18 years at La Belle Pomme Cooking School in Columbus, Ohio, with author-columnist Betty Rosbottom. Drafted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture as a marketing specialist, Tom served as its first “State Chef,” directing the Heartland Cuisine culinary program and assisting in the gestation of the Ohio Proud marketing program. For ten years, Chef Johnson also served as Paramount Distillers’ Corporate Chef. Today, semi-retired, Tom is a staff member of WRSOC.
Kathy is an educator, restaurant consultant, and bread expert. She was mentored by French Chef, Danielle Forrestier and has been teaching at WRSOC for over 19 years. Kathy was trained by Zona Spray and is a graduate of WRSOC.This past fall she received training with Jeff Hamelman and James MacGuire, both leading bread authorities.Her recently released DVD, Classic French Bread and More… takes you step by step through the art of bread making.
Becky Rink, CSA, is an award winning decorator and author of The Top Shelf Baker – Sweet Treats From a Well Stocked Bar. Becky has spent the last ten years honing her craft, expanding on her skills and sharing her love of decorating through teaching. She has competed on nationally televised programs such as We TV’s Wedding Cake Wars, TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off and Halloween Wars on the Food Network, making her the only baker in Cleveland to be on all three major networks.
Betty is a graduate of WRSOC with her initial training under Zona Spray. She is also trained as an Exercise Physiologist and a Social Worker. Through her company, Lifestyle Outfitters Inc., she works as a wellness coach with both private clients and with employees of self insured companies. Betty is part of a national movement in medicine that focuses on cooking instruction, as well as exercise and stress management to help prevent lifestyle related diseases.
Abbe Turner is the milkmaid at Lucky Penny Farm, a family farm and dairy, and the cheese maker at Lucky Penny Creamery in Kent, Ohio. Here the fresh goat and sheep milk produced from Ohio family farms is handmade into artisan cheeses (Chevre, Feta, Ricotta), award winning sweet Cajeta caramel sauce and other wholesome dairy specialties. Turner studied her craft at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a board member for Innovative Farmers of Ohio (IFO), a council member for the OARDC Ag-Bio Leadership Council and a founder of the Ohio Sheep Milk and Cheese Initiative. Dedicated to shortening the distance from farm to table, Turner promotes and supports local foods and entrepreneurial agriculture particularly for women farmers. Together with her husband Anderson, they raise three children at Lucky Penny Farm. Most days find them trying to balance family, farm and a small business with humor and grace. She is happiest wearing muck boots and drinking coffee. See www.luckypennyfarm.com for pictures and details.