After graduating from the New England Culinary Institute, Steve Hellmich (aka Graeter's Candy Man) found his way to the Cincinnati area and cooked for luminaries such as Allen Greenspan, Craig Claiborne and Tony Bennett before he had the chance to turn his candy-making hobby into his day gig.
Hellmich also teaches cooking classes at various venues, including Cooks' Wares and EQ at the Party Source. His advice for students? "Cooking is not as hard as you think. It's 90 percent common sense. Don't be afraid to try something new, experiment and have fun. Remember, it's only food."
CityBeat: What's the last great meal you ate and where did you eat it?
Steve Hellmich: Erin and I went out to One Restaurant & Lounge. We had a great dinner, as always: pan-seared sea scallops with caramelized onion, shitake mushroom and chiveragout. The scallops were perfectly cooked and everything was very nicely seasoned -- a double thick pecan-crusted pork chop with a BBQ demi-glaze sauce, a white corn crepe, asparagus and haricot verts and white chocolate crème brulee with hazelnut brittle and fresh raspberries, one of my all-time favorite desserts.
CB: Why shouldn't you trust a skinny chef?
SH: I would have to say that I am living proof that you can trust a skinny chef!
Graeter's Ice Cream and Confections, multiple locations around Greater Cincinnati, graeters.com