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Favorite Things in The Cucina

Posted on December 10, 2019 in Cucina, Holiday

These are a few of our Favorite Things in the Cucina

You’re going to love what we’re cooking in The Cucina! Our spacious, professional working kitchen is home to a wide variety of cooking classes, and it’s also the launching pad for our new line of gourmet foods available for sale at The Marketplace!

Cucina Cooking Class

“My favorite Cucina classes are those that are unique to the season, such as Savory Picnic Breads or Cooking with Herbs. These introduce students to fresh, local ingredients and provide essential tips for creating the perfect meals at home.”

– Julianna Wilmoth, Director of The Cucina


Gervasi Marinara Sauce

“Our marinara sauce is a carefully crafted Italian classic that captures the essence of our Tuscan roots. This is the sauce we serve in our restaurants, and now you can enjoy it in your own home!”
– Jerry Risner, Executive Chef

Something else we love:

Cucina eCertificates – Treat someone special to a culinary class! The Cucina offers a variety of cooking classes for every interest and skill level. Purchase an electronic gift code and instantly send it to yourself, a family member, friend or co-worker. The recipient can then view our class schedule and apply the gift code toward any class of their choice. Cucina gift certificates are valid for 2 years from the date of purchase.

GV Destinations Gift Cards
The perfect fit for anyone on your list! Gift cards are redeemable at both Gervasi Vineyard & The Twisted Olive.


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Cucina Spotlight: Vicki Todd Smith

Posted on August 31, 2019 in Cucina

Chef Vicki Todd Smith teaches her Polenta, Pasta and Potatoes class

By Julianna Wilmoth, Director of The Cucina

Chef Vicki Todd Smith has been a culinary educator, caterer, mentor, and chef for more than 35 years. During that time, Chef Vicki spent over a decade in Europe and Asia before returning to the United States in 2000. She has had the honor of cooking for such luminaries as the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Anderson Cooper, Ken Burns, and the former Foreign Minister of Japan. Additionally, during her years in Asia she was the caterer of choice for many ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps. Upon her return to the United States, she was the seminal chef to develop the food and beverage program at Kent State University’s Stark Conference Center. Subsequently, she became Market Kitchen and Catering Director for Mustard Seed Market in Solon and went on to run corporate dining for Jones Day law firm in Cleveland. At present Vicki works for a privately held conglomerate as the Executive Chef of their corporate lodging and catering operations.

Chef Vicki is a wealth of personal experiences and professional knowledge, which she happily shares during her classes. One class, Oodles of Asian Noodles, is the follow-up to her spring class, Polenta, Pasta and Potatoes. Chef Vicki’s class will introduce authentic ingredients while making the recipes home kitchen friendly. Try one of her recipes, Crispy Noodle Cake with Tomato Beurre Blanc, from the previous class, and then sign up for an upcoming class. Chef Vicki’s classes will transform your taste buds and kitchen skills!


Crispy Noodle Cake with Tomato Beurre Blanc

Serves 6

1 pound dried thin spaghetti
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
¼ pound provolone cheese, chopped
¼  pound whole milk mozzarella cheese, grated
¼  pound deli ham, chopped
¼  cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large kettle of boiling, salted water cook the spaghetti until al dente and drain well. In a heavy skillet sauté the onion in the butter over moderately high heat, stirring until golden.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and cream. Add the provolone, mozzarella, ham, parsley, salt, pepper, sauteed onion and spaghetti, and toss the mixture until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a well greased 9-inch springform pan. Put the pan on a baking sheet, and bake the noodle cake in the middle of the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is just firm to the touch at the center. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then chill in freezer to cool quickly.

In a skillet heat the butter over moderately high heat until melted, and add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring. Lower heat and simmer on low until thickened. Add four tablespoons of butter, one at a time, waiting until each one melts before adding the next. Set aside.

Run a thin sharp knife around the side of the noodle cake, remove the side of the pan, and run the knife along the bottom of the cake. Cut the cake into 6 wedges. In a skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter over moderately high heat, and sauté 3 wedges of the cake, turning them until they are golden brown and crisp. Cook the remaining wedges in the remaining butter in the same manner. Gently re-warm the tomato beurre blanc and serve with the noodle cake.

Check out more classes in The Cucina >

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Cucina Spotlight: Carla Snyder

Posted on August 3, 2019 in Cucina

Carla Snyder

By Julianna Wilmoth, Director of The Cucina

The instructor-chefs who lead classes in The Cucina are some of the region’s most sought after culinary experts. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be introducing our highly talented instructors who teach, guide and mentor here in The Cucina. Without further ado, meet nationally recognized chef-entrepreneur, Carla Snyder.

After a spending a college semester studying in Spain, Carla discovered just how delicious life could be. She has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, culinary team building company owner, freelance food writer and co-author of numerous cookbooks. Her work has appeared in Bon Appètit, Chili Pepper, Better Homes and Gardens, Family Fun and numerous local and regional magazines and newspapers.

Carla is co-author with Meredith Deeds of The Mixer BibleThe Mixer Bible 2nd Edition, 3rd Edition, and newly released 4th Edition (Robert Rose 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2018), the 2007 James Beard nominated The Big Book of Appetizers (Chronicle Books 2006), The Take-Out Menu Cookbook: How to Cook IN The Food That You Love to Order Out (Running Press, 2007), Good Morning America’s Top Ten Pick of 2008, 300 Sensational Soups (Robert Rose, 2008), Fish for Dinner (contributor, Williams Sonoma, 2009), the digital e-cook book with apps Serves Two (2010, available on iTunes) and Everyday to Entertaining (Robert Rose 2011). Carla’s series, One Pan Two Plates/Whole Family/Vegetarian books began in 2013 and she continues to use the recipes as inspiration for the classes she teaches at Gervasi. In Fall 2015, she released Sweet Tart: 70 Irresistible Recipes for Desserts and Savories Made with Citrus. She has appeared on Fox Morning News Indianapolis and Cincinnati, Lake Effect Radio’s Dinner Plans, Martha Stewart Living Radio, Good Morning Cleveland and Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family.

With her vast spectrum of knowledge and experiences, it is an exciting personal culinary moment to attend her classes. This fall, Chef Carla will be leading classes ranging from Chop (and Cook) Like a Chef: Knife Skills to One Pan-Whole Family to Homemade Artisan Pasta. View our Cucina class schedule for more information on Carla’s classes and the rest of our fall lineup.

Look for Carla on Facebook (Carla Snyder), Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest (Carla Snyder) Instagram (carlacooks) and at where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

The recipe below is from her Chop (and Cook) Like a Chef: Knife Skills class, just one of the many recipes she will be teaching this fall. Knife skills are immensely important to cooking times and even presentation, and Carla will guide you through correct ways of bruniose, chiffonade, and more!


Minestrone for two recipe by Carla Snyder

Minestrone for Two

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Hands on time: 15 minutes

Minestrone is the epitome of an “everything but the kitchen sink” soup. Even though we’re giving you a recipe, and it’s a good one, remember that at its essence, it’s a vegetable soup that needs to take advantage of what is in season and at its peak to be great. If zucchini doesn’t look good at the market, don’t use it, use yellow squash instead. If green beans don’t look good, leave them out. The bones of this soup are good canned tomatoes, good extra virgin olive oil, and real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and the rest is up to you.

2 slices bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped fine
2 zucchini, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 new potatoes, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage (preferably Savoy)
One 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped coarse, with juices
1/2 cup canned white beans
2 cups chicken broth
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

In a heavy kettle cook the bacon in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and pale golden. Add the onion, and cook the mixture, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, garlic and zucchini along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook the mixture, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and cabbage and cook the mixture, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, white beans and the broth and simmer the soup, covered, for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into a serving bowl. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and drizzle the top with extra virgin olive oil.

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