Five Questions with Terry Betts and Cindy Schultz (aka Fresh Bite)


Terry and I slogged many hours together catering and cooking at Project Open Hand, where we met in San Francisco in the early 1990’s. She is a dear friend and like me has been in an out of the food industry over the years.

Currently she is back in and has started a baking company with her friend Cindy Schultz called Fresh Bite.

For you Bay Area readers you can try their wares at the Underground Market in Oakland, the Lafayette Farmers market and soon Market Hall in Rock Ridge (while you are there pick up some of their lima bean skordalia, it’s the best!). Additionally they will be at the Spice of Life Festival at the Gourmet Ghetto in Berkeley on October 17th. Make sure to check them out!

Five Questions:
What is your latest project?
We are working on a business plan to develop a commercial kitchen that will house Fresh Bite but will also allow for space to rent out to other food businesses. We are also working on a marketing campaign for the Bite Club through the Berkeley Schools.
What are the foods or ingredients you can’t live without?
CINDY: Greens!
TERRY: Refried beans with fresh tortillas and spicy salsa.
What beverage?
CINDY: Wine.
TERRY: Trippel Ale, a brew from your local brewery in Colorado, New Blegium Brewery, it is a Belgian White Ale with coriander.

Who is your mentor?
CINDY: Personally it’s my mother and grandmother. The best room in my childhood homes was the kitchen. Both my mother and grandmother would prepare several dishes and a soup every night, made from the freshest vegetables at the market.
They were also extremely creative. Moving from Taiwan to Philly in the late sixties the grocery store was an alien place for my mother & grandmother-totally different produce. There was no tofu to be found. But whatever they cooked always tasted amazing. Professionally, I grew up watching Julia Child so I guess she was my inspiration and mentor, not really based on cooking but more her love of life.
TERRY: Personally, my food mentors were my parents.  As kids, we travelled a lot.  My mom worked for the airlines and my parents knew how to get us to Paris or Hawaii on a shoestring budget.  They also knew how to find the best little back street eateries.  My brother and sister and I stay connected now by sending each other pictures of whatever food we might be enjoying at the time.
Professionally my mentors have been cookbook writers Deborah Madison, Leslie Shere and Julie Sanhi.  I have cooked my way through almost every book these women have written to truely understand their approaches to food.  I would also credit the many chefs I have worked under, particularly Chef John from the Italian Banquet Hall in Chicago.

What is your favorite food memory?
CINDY: We lived in LA and our family had a small beach house in Oxnard. My birthday is the 3rd of July and one year, none of my friends were around nor was my family (except for my mother). So my mom and I drove to our beach house in Oxnard. On the way we stopped by a strawberry farm, back then strawberry farms were most of Oxnard County, and bought a flat of strawberries. My mom and I ate them in the car, they were so incredibly sweet, we couldn’t stop. I think we ate the entire flat between the two of us.
TERRY: When I was 23, I met my father and sister in Lyon, France.  I travelled there by train from the small ski resort where I was working in the Alps.  The first night we went out to dinner and I had my first taste of duck breast.  It was pan sauted, medium rare, and came with a cherry sauce.  I can still taste it and feel the texture in my mouth.
What is your ultimate meal?
CINDY: The jury is still out.
TERRY: Mine would be a romantic meal in one of the small seaside towns south of Izmir on the western coast of Turkey with my husband, Albert.  We would have a variety of Turkish mezze, fresh fish and raki as the sun set over the Aegean.
Fresh Bite Focaccia Recipe
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 1/3 cups water, tepid
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil, plus additional for oiling bowl and pan
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1. Proof the yeast in the water in the bowl of a stand mixer for 5 minutes until foamy. The water should be a bit cooler than normally used to proof as the dough will be sitting in the fridge all night.
2. Add salt and olive and mix, using the paddle attachment.
3. Add all purpose flour and mix for 2 minutes, scraping down bowl a couple of times. The dough will be very wet and sticky.
4. Pour dough into a well oiled bowl, use olive oil. Invert dough so completely covered with olive oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 12 hours and up to 24.
5. When ready to bake, remove dough and put in proofing oven or warm place, ideally at least 90 degrees.  Allow dough to come to room temperature.
6. Place dough on well oiled jelly roll pan or 12″ round pan and spread out to fill pan. allow to proof another hour, until bubbles form.
7. Dimple dough with your finger tips and brush with more olive oil.
8. Bake at 400 degrees until crispy on bottom, about 25-30 minutes (you should double check the time, I use a whole different kind of oven).
Optional: Before baking, spread focaccia with dofferent toppings like pesto and top with 1 cup diced tomatoes or 3/4 cup carmelized onions and goat or bleu cheese.

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