San Carlos’ Ellamarie Fortenbach is releasing her first cookbook called ‘Cooking with Ellamarie, Celebrities, and Kids’ this fall.
Tens years in the making, San Carlos resident and chef Ellamarie Fortenbach is releasing her cookbook “Cooking with Ellamarie, Celebrities, and Kids” Wednesday, Nov. 12.
Fortenbach, who is originally from Dallas, is the founder of Chez Le Petit Chef, a cooking school in San Carlos that focuses on child chefs. She decided to create the cookbook, which features celebrities such as actors Jennette McCurdy, Eva La Rue, Danny Glover, Elisabeth Rohm, Maria Canals-Barrera and Ed Begley Jr. and musician Steve Azar cooking with their families, along with large photos and nutritional, fun food recipes. The celebrities also share stories with Fortenbach in her first book.
“It took some time to fully develop it,” she said. “I have a lot on my plate. My mother is living with me and she has advanced dementia. It’s been a hurdle for a couple years and there are a lot of dynamics that are going on that all were positive, we’re a family that likes enjoying life, cooking and eating.”
She has three daughters. Foustene is 18, Solange is 17 and Satiene is 12 years. Fortenbach met her husband Eric while in Maui after winning a radio contest to bring her grandparents on vacation. Fortenbach grew up in a large family with a single mom and she spent a good deal of time with her grandparents who ran family businesses, primarily restaurants.
“I would go with her (her mom) to get an early age training on the restaurant industry,” she said. “I was working with the chefs, or maybe being a nuisance to them. I had fun picking up produce and checking the quality of the meat. … I have been a foodie for a very long time.”
Fortenbach’s friend from Draeger’s Supermarket urged her to write a book. The book was also inspired by her desire to promote the family bonding and safety in the kitchen, as one of her daughters damaged a finger while alone in the kitchen once.
“I knew the best way to get that promoted was to have high profile people to support that like celebrities,” she said. “I never envisioned this was going to take place.”
The recipes are a mix of healthy and fun, she said. Some of the recipes include pumpkin spice truffles, cinnamon rolls, macaroons, Mediterranean paella, Cuban chicken fricassee and prawn cocktail and sauce.
“It’s OK to be able to have sweets, but in moderation,” she said.
Fortenbach enjoys experimenting with cooking.
“It (cooking) is an art, but we don’t take it so seriously,” she said. “We want to be able to create and enjoy the foods. … Sometimes I am in the kitchen from morning ‘til night.”
Fifty percent of her profits will be donated to actor Kevin Sorbo’s nonprofit organization A World Fit For Kids. The nonprofit uses physical activity, nutrition and mentoring to help kids and motivate them to stay in school.
The book will be available at Barnes & Noble for the holidays and online before it branches out for a wider distribution. Go to cookingwithellamarie.com for more information.
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