Friday, March 14, 2014

Going Public: Scooter Discovers Asheville Chef Cecilia Marchesini

 Scooter Cooks at Cecilia’s Kitchen

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that Scooter is quite human in his basic desires. Like all people, he and his pal Boots have simple needs: food, shelter and love. They dream of ways to get adopted so that a forever family may provide for their wellbeing. These essential needs apply equally to animals and humans. Scooter wants to be Superman so someone will respect him. Who doesn't?

Have you noticed that animal lovers react the same to dogs, cats and children? The human emotion is to reach out and hug, cuddle, talk to and nurture. Giving a child a cookie is like giving a dog a treat. Those are the kind of people that gravitate to Scooter and innately understand that this dog (puppet?) is hungry for food and love.

The three chefs in the first BrokenHeart Pets video cooking series share this kind of love for the basics.  Like Scooter and Boots, each has faced difficult challenges and found special community acceptance in their love of food and animals. Laurey Masterton battled cancer with all she had but her dog Tye fought with her every step of the way. Chris Kobler lost his eye as a soldier in Vietnam but is as handsome, smart and talented as his partner Brigid Burns. For both of them, food and travel has reached an art form of epic proportion. Cecilia Marchesini, from a privileged background and loving family in Argentina, used her love of cooking to raise her son Matias as a single mom, to get her business degree, attend law school and to gain the respect from the Asheville community for her generosity and sheer grit. In America, she was on her own and without substantial means.

Born in the small town of La Carlota, Cecilia’s family name is Magellan (Yes! The original conquerors of Argentina) and her grandmother came from Macerata in northern Italy. Cooking is in her “blood.” Her former husband was French, so all together, you can understand why her empanadas, crepes and tamales are authentic and fully reminiscent of home cooking from afar.

She has worked with determination from a two-year stint at restaurant Le Sole (now Bouchon on Lex) to making crepes at festivals to building a business with her food truck, “Lola,” the first food truck in Asheville. “I named my truck Lola because Frieda Kahlo seemed overused. Never the less, Lola Flores was an Andalusian icon of gypsy culture and a flamenco dancer, another powerful woman… and I wanted to adopt her determination to help achieve my business success.” “Lola” and Cecilia are pals, and have traveled life’s roads together like Scooter and Boots!

Cecilia found her tired, used truck and did an “extreme makeover” into a kitchen space that travels to markets and festivals all over the region. Weekly, she and “Lola” serve up delicious crepes, empanadas and tamales at the North Asheville and Montford tailgate markets and she then brings her specialties to the Wedge in the RAD. She started her restaurant last year with just $300 and has built her business to five employees and no debt. As of now, Cecilia’s Kitchen on north Merrimon brings home 30% of her business income, the truck is 40% and the rest comes in from catering. It looks like Cecilia’s business degree has really paid off!

Scooter and Boots are just as determined as their pal Cecilia to find food, shelter and someone to love them. Scooter has learned that cooking good food means more than simply feeding one’s stomach. Like Laurey, Chris, Scooter and Cecilia, it will also feed their souls.

Learn to make empanadas and crepes at: