Marguerite was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York in an Italian family from Sicily, eating fabulously prepared food from her mother’s kitchen while drinking fine wines at the table. Her mother was a wonderful cook, a talented baker, and all-around entertainer, who would host holiday meals for twenty while making it look easy. Marguerite tells us that her mother is her inspiration for all that is in good taste, and all that tastes good, and her first book, “Savor the Memories” is dedicated to her.
Marguerite left New York in 1970 after receiving a degree in Elementary Education and getting married to a military man the same year. First they lived in Salt Lake City, Utah where she taught for three years, then in Germany for almost four.
After moving back to Utah in 1980, she began teaching Italian and French cooking classes at a local gourmet cookware store. From those classes, a catering business bloomed and she was the official caterer for visiting personalities such as Martha Stewart and George Bush, as well as the Sundance Film Festival. She opened a gourmet deli in 1995 called “Cucina” where she ran the kitchen. It received numerous national and local culinary awards, and became an institution in the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City. Marguerite wrote her first book, “Savor the Memories” in February 2002, and “Small Plates – Appetizers as Meals” this year. She appears weekly as a guest chef on a local Salt Lake City television show, and continues to teach cooking classes throughout the state of Utah.
Marguerite has two children of whom she’s very proud – a daughter who’s a mother-to-be of twins, and a son who is a Navy JAG officer. Marguerite has a second home here in Portland, which she bought after she fell in love with the Rose City while visiting her son at Lewis and Clark College. The dishes we offer this month are some of our favorites from her two cookbooks – we hope they’ll become your favorites, too!
Roasted Beet & Orange Salad
mesclun greens tossed with toasted hazelnuts, feta cheese & orange vinaigrette
Oriental Noodle Salad with Marinated Wild Salmon
grilled asian-marinated salmon served on top of a sesame-soy noodle salad with red peppers, carrots, peas & green onions
Chicken alla Cucina
chicken breast with garlic, onion, artichoke hearts, white wine, herbs & sun-dried tomatoes, served on a bed of fresh egg fettucine
Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake
this is a recipe Marguerite’s mother used to make for summer get-togethers on the patio. Marguerite says “it is moist and has all the wonderful spices of a great carrot cake and the orange frosting is the perfect topping to it all. For carrot cake lovers, look no further!”