Posted by Tammy on 28th Oct 2014

Current Position: Blogger, Recipe Developer at Buttercream Bakehouse and Brand Ambassador for Major Food Labels.

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Interview with Dina Crowell

Restaurantware Interviewer: Explain your food philosophy in 10 words or fewer.

Dina Crowell: Bake from scratch and savor the flavor

Restaurantware Interviewer: What is your most unique attribute as a food professional?

Dina Crowell: My willingness to share baking tips and techniques as well as delicious easy to prepare recipes to inspire others to be creative and experiment in their home kitchens.

Restaurantware Interviewer: Explain the most innovative event you’ve ever thrown or dish you’ve ever created.

Dina Crowell: A dash of cayenne pepper and cinnamon in chocolate recipes kick the chocolate flavor up a notch. Speaking of cinnamon and cayenne pepper, I once entered a chili cook-off with a homemade batch of beef chili made with cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, bittersweet chocolate and jalapeno’s.

Restaurantware Interviewer: What is the most underrated kitchen product or food item?

Dina Crowell: The Blender. I make everything from salsa to pie crust in my blender.

Restaurantware Interviewer: How do eco-friendly considerations enter your decision making process as a chef or caterer? (i.e. sourcing local food, using ecofriendly products, etc.)

Dina Crowell: I live in Fredericksburg, VA and I am lucky that we have plenty of local farms to buy from, I generally only buy from farmers markets and even pick my own berries when baking a berry pie or making jams and sauces. There is a farm up the road from me that not only has pick your own berries and organic free range eggs, but they also have a bee farm where I can buy fresh honey that is made right there on the farm. It really makes a difference to use fresh products in baking.

Restauantware Interviewer: Restaurantware is about providing a stylish presentation for food, explain your approach to plating and tablescapes.

Dina Crowell: Pinterest is a source of inspiration for me for my tablescapes. I think I generally stick to three coordinating or contrasting colors and two patterns (polka dots and stripes or solid and floral) and coordinating platters and food too that will help tie your color scheme and tablescape together. Another great option is monochromatic color scheme, which can look stunning when using one strong accent color.

Restaurantware Interviewer: List one tip you would give to a DIY entertainer or home cook who might need some professional inspiration to take a gathering to the next level.

Dina Crowell: Do your research. Find a party idea such as a wine and cheese party and look for as many attributes to your gathering that you can pull off on your own. It’s also helpful to pair wine/drinks with the food that is being served. Know your wines, plan your serving areas or tablescapes, use fresh flowers, fresh ingredients and keep it simple.

Restaurantware Interviewer: What is the best thing you’ve eaten recently?

Dina Crowell: I had watermelon with feta cheese and mint. It was light, refreshing and addicting. I don’t even like mint but now it is a favorite herb as it really tastes subtle and clean when paired with watermelon.