Didi first fell for cooking 38 years ago in the sixth grade. The smell of apples cooking with butter and cinnamon in her home economics class put her in a foodie trance that she is irrevocably under. Ate age 16 Didi worked part-time at an extensive cheese shop in her hometown. This expanded her food savvy as well as pants size.
She developed a feel for combining ingredients during her college years by reading Gourmet magazines instead of studying. At age 27 she completed a one-year “stage” or apprenticeship at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris, France. Didi has since become a serial restaurant opener. She opened four successful restaurants in twelve years. And now, Didi is doing what she loves best - recipe delevopement. She has spent the last five years engineering recipes that are affordable for organizations like Project Bread, the Boston Public Health Commission as well as senior housing developments. She has worked with a wide array of flavors and cultures. Healthy affordable food is something she believes and excels in. The restaurants she has founded,are, in order of inception: 1)The DeLux (Boston's South end) , 2) Pho Republique (Central Square, Cambridge), 3) Veggie Planet,(Harvard Square, Cambridge), and 4) Haley House Bakery Café (Roxbury). Haley House is a non-profit CORI-friendly café in Roxbury, Massachusetts that opened in 2005. She is now teaching cooking skills at Haley House to inner-city youth, helping to combat health disparities.
Her newest venture is Crossroads Community Café and Catering (http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/dorchester/2013/08/hold_crossroads_community_cafe_aims_to_build_community_emplo.html). It currently exists as a catering business but will soon become a non-profit cafe in Dorchester. While serving delicious food, Crossroads is committed to achieving social impact by training youth ages 16-22 and also by reinvesting profit.
Also, she penned a cookbook entitled Wild Flavors in October 2011 about Eva Sommaripa and her chock-a-block herb farm. It was nominated for an IACP award (political/food). It is a seasonal book and is an inspiring guide for foodies and growers. It is published by Chelsea Green and showcases my photographs! Click here to see a slide show. Or click here to order a book.
Her first book, Vegetarian Planet has sold almost a quarter million copies and was nominated for a James Beard award. Her second book, Entertaining for a Veggie Planet sold less well, (she is not willing to disclose sales numbers but she thinks the photo of her resembling Count Dracula has something to do with it) but it did win both an IACP award and the Gourmand Award.