Barbara Stange

Jo McGarry
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Friday - April 13, 2011 Share | | podcast Podcast |

Jo McGarry photo

Occupation: Restaurant Manager (and former sous chef), Alan Wong’s.

Where were you born and raised? Perrysburg, Ohio. I moved to Hawaii, the Big Island, in 1989.

What started your interest in the food and beverage world?My mother has always been an excellent baker - she is the only one of seven children in her family who can make a German/Polish coffee cake called Kookala.  My Grandmother Stange always made a special “pulled chicken,” so I guess it kind of runs in the family.

First job in the industry? Boody House Restaurant, Toledo. I applied for a busboy position and they had just filled it. They checked with the chef, a French guy, who said, “If she’s pretty we’ll give her a try!” Changed days!

Do you cook at home? Yes,  as much as possible.  I enjoy not planning dinner and just finding what’s in the fridge, mixing it up with ingredients in the cupboard - surprising, sometimes, to find what the outcome is.

What’s always in your fridge? I grew up on a small farm. My parents, both in their 80s now, were raised during the Depression when canning was an art. I always bring something they have just canned home, so pickled peppers, tomatoes and even sauerkraut. I always have cheese and Polish kielbasa - I have it shipped in from a good Polish friend. It’s the best.†And I wouldn’t be a true Stange without vodka and a beer somewhere in there too.

Favorite places to eat when not at Alan Wong’s? The Old Side Street, Chang Mai, Mei Sum Dim Sum ... so many places.

With whom would you most like to have dinner? Julia Child and her husband Paul. I love how she describes her first meal - the one that opened her eyes to food ...

Anything about you that might surprise people?I was an avid horse rider in Ohio, taking reserve champion in the state fair in 1980, and my first job in cooking was to put me through a course to become a travel agent - I have seen more of the world as a cook then as a travel agent.


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