About Me and My World

Chef-Steff-logo-i

So the adventure begins…

Welcome Everyone, My name is Stephanie, a Greek name meaning (“Crowned One”). I believe the meaning of my name holds many definitions and you will learn them all as you get to know me.  I am an American/Greek Chef born in Philadelphia and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Many family & friends also call me  “Chef Steff” and my Italian neighbor calls me “Chefanie”.

I am very excited to intrigue you with my passions!  A delicious world filled with not just my passion for Food, but also my passion for Fashion. You will learn how to tap into your creativity, achieve your goals and keep a positive attitude with energy and perseverance to embrace a happy life! Plus you will look great and feel great as you learn how the two are connected how they blend into my love of family, friends and laughter!

From Philly to Baltimore:

My Father’s Company transferred our family to Baltimore, MD when I was five. It was very hard for my family and me because just about all of our close relatives lived in Philly. At 5 years old I had only one living grandparent that I ever had the privilege of knowing. My mother’s mother, Pauline Doukakis, and as I go through life I realize just how amazing she was! Moving to Baltimore taught me one of my first lessons in family support. It was my Aunts, Uncles and all of my cousins that helped us, supported us and loved us during and after our move to Baltimore. So much that just about every weekend from the day we moved was spent traveling back to Philly to stay with my Mom’s sister, Aunt Olga (Dolly), Uncle Jack, my five cousins and my grandmother Pauline, (Nene’). I have fascinating stories I cannot wait to tell you!

Education:

I received all of my education in Baltimore, from Grade School to Culinary School.  Since I was a very young girl my food passion played a big roll in my life. Who else do you know that at 6 years old chose their friends by determining how well their mothers could cook and how often you were invited in to eat with them, haha. It’s true, and from that point on my cravings evolved into my desire to cook and create dishes that have brought laughter and smiles to strangers, friends and family.

I am a graduate of Le’Cole Culinary Arts Insitute in Baltimore, MD. Located in downtown Baltimore, just around the corner from the “The Block”! A very famous stretch of bars, strip clubs and sex shops on E. Baltimore Street. There were many major movies that have been filmed there over the years; and in the first half of the 20th Century it was famous for it’s Burlesque Houses and had the likes of Blaze Starr entertaining there.

The only food landmark on “The Block” was Pollock Johnny’s famous for their own recipe of Polish Sausages and Sauces. Meanwhile around the corner our class attending Culinary School was learning how to make incredible rich, International and American cuisine, 5 days a week. I confess that as wonderful as the food was that we were preparing in school; we all craved those great polish sausages of Pollock Johnny’s.

I can only say that, we may have strolled over to Baltimore Street at least once a week on our break and gobbled up a few Pollock Johnny’s sausages. Unfortunately, we did not go unnoticed for our uniforms of Crisp white Chef’s Jackets and black plaid pants definitely stood out as we maneuvered our way through a Sea of Strip Bars and Peep Shows. Lets not forget the very oddly interesting people on the street as well, haha! It really was fun and I learned a very different perspective on life as I knew it to be.

After Culinary School I worked in many restaurants, (not on “The Block”) but very unhappy with making the same menu everyday. So I eventually chose the Catering world and I am still catering today. I am a word of mouth Caterer under the name “Tastefully Gourmet Catering”.

Just an FYI, I didn’t advertise because I didn’t have the time for a busy catering schedule. Why you ask? Well, being a girl in her twenties, with every girl’s dream, (or nightmare, just kidding) I got married and I was raising 4 children within the first 2 years of my marriage.

OK, it’s not what you think…..my husband was married before and had two children ages 2 and 6, then 12 months after we were married I had a son and don’t you know 11 months after that I had another son. It’s exhausting just saying it!! Yet, it is truly one of the best memories as a mom. For I was lucky enough to receive the kind of love every mother hopes for from all four children. We were a complete family, so close that many people didn’t even realize that I did not give birth to my oldest two!

The Fashion Twist and Inspiration in my Life:

By now you can see just how deep my love of food and life are, but there are a couple more twists about my world you need to know. First, I did not attend Culinary School right out of High school, I had another passion that fascinated and intrigued me as well. It was Fashion, as a little girl I was a true fashionista. I loved fashion, every aspect of it.

My first job at 15 was in a clothing store and I became addicted to putting together outfits from jewelry to shoes that made a statement. In fact one of my jobs right out of High School was a clothing store named Paul Harris in Columbia, MD. Something happened at that store that changed my life forever. I had the honor and privilege to put together complete clothing ensembles from head to toe for none other than the incredible “Oprah Winfrey”! You heard me, yes I said Oprah Winfrey! That was back in the 70’s when she was an anchor on a local Baltimore TV Station, WJZTV.

Oprah would come into our store every week and we would put together her outfits that she wore during her broadcasts. Our store Paul Harris would get the credits at the end of the show for providing Oprah’s wardrobe. She was so kind, so friendly and so down to earth, we all loved her.

Oprah Winfrey had drive and passion, she was positive and motivated to achieve the higher goals she set for herself. She became my inspiration and I continue to follow her life and her achievements. The most important lesson I learned from Oprah Winfrey is never give up, find a way out of life’s tragedies, learn from them, move forward and educate others on how to persevere.

She has become an inspiration to millions of people and I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her. Through the years I have told my Oprah Winfrey story to hundreds of people, they all say the same thing,” contact her, she would remember you”. I never have, but maybe she will stumble upon my blog and I will have the pleasure and honor of seeing her again.

The knowledge I have learned and the content of my life reach for miles and miles. Every experience has become an informative adventure and every adventure has a story behind it. For many, many years my friends and family have always told me  “write the book on your life”. Well, I never wrote the book because I am to busy living my crazy life.

So, in order to make everyone happy I started this Blog/Website. Eventually I would like to do some Youtube videos of the recipes I will be sharing with you, so you can watch every step of creating fabulous dishes! But wait… there is one more Twist to my delicious life and it is called “The Twisted Hound”, you will love this too!

Hopefully you made it this far and if you want to learn, explore and achieve more in your world, then follow me and I hope to make a difference in your life!

Chef Steff

We are a Catering company in Baltimore, MD specializing in Business Events, Weddings, Graduations and Birthday Parties.
We will be offering Cooking Classes in the Spring of 2014 in Baltimore, MD
Contact Info:
Tastefully Gourmet Catering, LTD
Chef-Owner: Stephanie Apostolou
410-340-6300   (fax) 410-592-9111
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