I started cooking at a young age when my sisters and I would do “make -ups”….basically putting together different creations involving butter, sugar and other ingredients for an after school snack. One of my daily jobs included making the salad for dinner. This led to me to starting my own garden and betting my dad that I could live off of it for two weeks. I caved to ice cream and sweets!
Trish pictured here with her dad!
I attended the College of St. Benedict in MN, graduated in 1986, and moved to Dayton for a teaching position at Incarnation Elementary school. Soon afterward I met my husband and was married in 1989. In ’91, we had our first child and three more children followed. I decided to stay home, but at the same time some students at the University of Dayton were trying to start up a rowing team. Both my husband and I had rowed in college, and we agreed to coach. At that time I began to train heavily in my own boat where I developed a pretty competitive career in racing. In 2003, my husband and I began a high school girls rowing program called Dayton Boat Club where we both currently coach outside of our other jobs.
The coaching, my own competitive rowing, and the kids kept me busy, but with the kids growing up, our expenses increased. I needed to find a way to establish a more financially stable income.
The thought of finishing my masters at UD was an option, but the time commitment probably wouldn’t allow me to coach or have the freedom to visit family as much as I’d like to. I had always joked about having my own café, but, again, I knew that was probably even more time consuming. There were a couple food truck ideas in the making when I thought, nobody had done anything solely dedicated to grilled cheese! The menu options were endless and fun to create! When I started looking into the truck, logistics and the unique idea, it all came together and people were very excited about what I had to offer. It took off!
1. What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?
You’d think I’d say “cheese” is my favorite ingredient, but what I really like about making the sandwiches are the fresh vegetables and spices that go together. The Don Quixote is one of my favorites as it has the corn, black beans, jalapeño with two different cheeses and a chipotle mayo. Recently, too, I’ve discovered how cooking with lemon can really bring in a lot of flavor
2. What ingredient do you dread?
Opening a jar of sauerkraut. It smells terrible, but once it’s on the grill and added to the Reuben, it can be amazing!
There are currently 9 different sandwiches on the menu and I tend to favor the vegetarian based ones. I do love the Don Quixote, but the “Oh My Gouda” has a whole different flavor with the onions, mushrooms, Gouda, mozzarella and a spicy mustard mayo.
As far as the ones that meat in them, I’d have to go with the Buffalo Blue: shredded buffalo chicken, mozzarella, cheddar, blue cheese with a splash of Franks
4. What’s your favorite pig out food?
Harvest, sweet potato fries. Delicious!
5. What restaurant, other than your own do you like to dine at in the Miami Valley?
Dewey’s Pizza, every Thursday night – date night. I have to give Dewey’s pizza some credit. A lot of my combinations have stemmed from the way I see and taste how certain ingredients go well together. Love their pizza!
6. What’s your best advice for home chefs?
Try a recipe, but don’t be afraid to make it your own. Start with what you know works, pay attention to what you like when you’re out in a restaurant, and try to bring those ideas home.
7. If you could invite any 4 guests to a dinner party who would they be and why?
Bridget, Matthew, Patrick and Madeline Miles. I love to have my kids all home for dinner.
8. Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Todd Jesdale, truly a genius in the field of coaching rowing, but also a bit eccentric in a comforting and enjoyable way. He is a previous US national boys’ team coach.
Patrick, from Harvest Mobile Cuisine. He has inspired, encouraged and looked out for me in my C’est Cheese endeavor. I’m addicted to his sweet potato fries, so much that I gave them up for lent!
Devin Oliver. Humble, kind, a true leader and he plays pretty good basketball. Love those Flyers!
9. What do you do in the Miami Valley on a day off?
I might substitute teach at Holy Angels, where my kids all attended grade school or if the weather is nice, I’ll get out in my boat for a row. Then there is the possibility I might go and visit my son in Columbus or my daughter in Chicago.
10. Share a kitchen disaster, lucky break or other interesting story.
I’ve had a few disasters… I think you have to if you’re going to learn anything!
When we were first married, my husband’s parents came to visit. I wanted to make this zucchini pasta. The zucchini burnt and stuck to the pan. The fire alarm in our house was blaring. I took the pan and whacked it against the outside of our house where it was in view of my in laws (I didn’t know they were there). I looked over to the patio where they were sitting, and said: “dinners ready”!
I guess I’ve come a long way since those days…. I’ve learned a lot by trial and error, but I think I’m on a good path and I love what I’ve been able to do! I’ve loved getting to meet a lot of people in the Dayton area. I love to meet other small business owners and share in the experience of working hard to be successful. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll have the time to open a café with French tablecloths, good music and a fun atmosphere!
C’est Cheese Schedule:
Monday: Wilmer Hale on Research Blvd and Founders
Tuesday: Ghostlight Cofee on Wayne
Wednesday: 5 Rivers Metro Park office on monument
Friday: Wilmer Hale
Weekends vary according to events. Often I’ll be on the schedule for either Eudora, Yellow Springs, and Star City Brewery’s
The best way to find Trish is on twitter: @cest_cheese
She can be scheduled for graduation, block, birthday parties as well as wedding showers.
Contact info: 937-344-4771 cestcheese.info
This Chef 10?’s article was put together by UD students in Professor Rebecca P. Blust’s UD Engineering Project Management class. Our four member team , Gracelyn Key, Sushmitha Rayinadi, Emily Strobach and Daniel Williams spent the semester learning how to meet with a client (DMM) define the project, put a plan together and execute it. This is the first of 9 Chef interviews they presented to us as their class project.