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Inside Margaret’s Mind: What Inspires You.

We interviewed our “cook” (we’ve learned not to call her a chef). We go inside Margaret’s mind to see how she got to where she is and what inspires her to dish out all the delicious food you see at Ashcombe everyday!

“What is the biggest surprise about your career as a cook?” That people like my cooking! *chuckle*

Scroll to the bottom to see upcoming meals from Margaret!

“How did you decide to become a chef?” I am not a chef. Chefs go to school.  I am cook. Cooks learn from their mothers.  I always tell people that. I was in the banking field. I was looking for something to do and I like plants, and Ashcombe was hiring in the kitchen. The current manager was heading to retirement, and that is how I got to be where I am.

“What has been your happiest food making experience at Ashcombe?” The Thanksgiving Dinner for Two. It makes me happy to see how happy it makes others.

“What is your favorite, or go-to cookbook?” The Joy of Cooking. I use that one a lot! My mother-in-law gave me that the first year I was married. The Farm Journal Cookbook is another one I use a lot, and The Mennonite Cookbook.

“How do your family roots influence your cooking?” Well, my family was Mennonite and I have a Pennsylvania family Dutch background. That is what I grew up eating and the folks around here love the Pennsylvania Dutch style of cooking. It is comfort food at its finest.

“What Ashcombe event do you like to cook for the most?” I like doing the Soup Dinners. They are a lot of fun to research to come up a with a theme, and I get a kick out of talking to everyone afterward.

“What is the biggest surprise about your career as a cook?” That people like my cooking! *chuckle*

“If you could dine with any chef, who would you choose?” Andrew Zimmern. He does make bizarre food, and he travels the world to learn about new foods. He is very respectful of the cultures.

“What is your favorite food to eat and what are some of your favorite ingredients to cook with?” I like to cook with a lot of fresh vegetables. I will eat about anything that isn’t nailed down, except liver. I don’t cook with liver, eat it, or touch it.

“So, we know you can cook. But can you bake?” Yes. Am I very good at it? Not really.

“Do you have any advice for at home chefs or budding professionals?” Experiment. Cooking is not an exact science. Understand what pairs with other things, so that you can create something from nothing. If you just look in your refrigerator and realize the different things that will work together. Get an idea of what goes together and do not be afraid to try. Having things not turn out is not a failure it is a “now you know it doesn’t work” so you push that aside and figure out something that does work. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

“Do you have any tips to share with families cooking at home?” Involve your kids. Make them help. Teach them how to chop and what goes together, because someday they are going to move out and that is one of the best things you can do. It is also a great time to talk about what is going on in their lives, while you’re doing things.

“What is one thing you want Ashcombe customers to know?” Life is too short: eat the tiramisu for crying out loud. Food is joy. You eat with your eyes first; you want beautiful food in front of you. You can eat sensibly but you need to have the joy as well. So, if that means eating the tiramisu, eat the tiramisu.

Margaret is always in the Ashcombe kitchen cooking up something new and delicious! Every week she dishes out Thursday Night Dinners for Two, the menu is different every week so there is something for everyone!

Easter Dinner is coming up and Margaret is ready to give you the perfect holiday meal for two! Menu is on our homepage! Orders can be placed in store or by phone!

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