Chef Michele Haines of the Spring Mill Cafe creates beautiful and tasty french-inspired dishes. Food, however, is just one of Michele’s passions.
Haines continues to jet-set her way around the world, bringing flavors and stories back to the Philadelphia region. Her philosophy stems from connections between food, literature and art.
We reached out to Michele to see if she had time to talk and share some of her wisdom, but we weren’t too surprised to find out she was out of town. Via email she told us, “I am far away in Iran cooking my way through pistachios and saffron!!! I am south of Tehran in the desert.”
Still, she was able to answer some of our questions through email and it made us even more excited for her story-telling brunch class on June 12.
City Kitchen: When did you realize that you wanted the culinary arts to be part of your career?
Michele Haines: I realized the potential of the impact of food as a tool for peace and communication after creating literary dinners and travel log dinners in my house in Germantown while I was teaching at GFS.
CK: When did you start cooking and who was your first teacher?
MH: I started cooking with my grandmother in France, she was my teacher. I never went to culinary school, I am self-trained. I was a professor of Spanish and Cultural Anthropology. I went to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island as a graduate student in Slavic Studies.
CK: The Spring Mill Cafe seems to be more than just a cafe or restaurant. What inspired you to make the Cafe a community space?
CK: You’ve talked about your time growing up in France. What made you decide to settle in the Philadelphia suburbs? How has your cuisine changed since you’ve moved to the US?
MH: I do not think the cuisine has changed very much. I was raised believing in local food , fair-trade, and no chemicals, balanced diet of fruit, vegetables and a small portion of meat or fish and good cheeses. My life now is divided by programs in Philadelphia and programs all over the world, cooking and telling stories, from Russia to Cambodia to Hawaii!