Erica Bethe is a Jewtalian. Cooking, eating and drinking wine/Manischewitz is in her blood. As a very young child, she and her family would go to her favorite steakhouse and Erica would order the filet mignon. The server always assumed she meant the kids' version. She quickly corrected them and ordered the 10 oz...
Erica is a Chicago transplant from West Palm Beach, Florida (more Jews than Italians). She moved to Evanston in 2001 to attend Northwestern University as a Journalism major. Her parents freaked out that she wanted to transfer into the theatre program, but she did it anyway. Well, it all worked out because here she is...running a blog (journalism at its finest).
Right after NU, she moved downtown and worked about five jobs at a time. She was the Company Coordinator for the Lookingglass Theatre Company (coolest job ever) while auditioning for roles around town while writing professionally while waiting tables while working at a boutique on the weekends. It was after a brief stint as a publicist (her clients included the Radio City Rockettes and the one and only Lynda Carter - yes, Wonder Woman) that she combined the love of all of her previous jobs and created her dream one: she founded CheekyChicago.com. For seven years, Erica served as the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine and grew it into thee premiere lifestyle brand for women in the city of Chicago.
While running Cheeky, Erica was lucky enough to be recruited to write for a bunch of prominent publications, including CitySearch, Today's Chicago Woman magazine, CS magazine, Jetsetter.com and Backstage.com; she was also a Correspondent for NBC covering all things eating, drinking and shopping (someone's gotta do it!). As the CEO of Cheeky, Erica contributed to and had been interviewed by a ton of local and national television stations and publications, including CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, NBC, ABC, WGN, Fox, The Medill News Source, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune and AT&T's "Small Business Circle."
She wholeheartedly believes that "there's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women" (thanks, Madeleine Albright, for the truest quote ever) and in that vein, mentors female students and young alums through Northwestern University's Council of 100. Erica is very proud to be a part of this group of 100 hand-selected female NU alums that are considered "the most successful in their industry."
Erica grew up with an Italian mother who taught herself to cook waaaaaaay beyond her natural talent for marinara and pesto. She bakes, sautés, fries and broils her way through every major cuisine. As a child, Erica's favorite meal was London broil with noodle pudding (slightly confusing), but now it's hard for her to decide because Mama Levin is just. that. good. When she flies home to W.P.B., she sends an itinerary of food in advance that includes Macadamia-crusted snapper with mango salsa, homemade pizza on the grill with pesto, grilled onions, fontina and arugula, and marinated grilled shrimp with spaghetti aglio e olio (to name a few).
Erica has always been really good at following recipes, but her technique and confidence in the kitchen has grown as she's gotten older. When she first met her husband, she was so excited to cook for him for the first time. She made sautéed flounder in a lemon caper butter sauce - and she followed the recipe to a T. He was hooked. However, with 25+ years in the restaurant industry, the guy himself knows how to cook. He gave Erica the confidence she needed to stop following recipes and to invent and create in the kitchen. Bammmmm! She still bases a lot of her cooking on recipes she's found over the years, but she modifies, edits, adds and enhances them - and Husband would tell you they're a lot better because of it. In fact, Erica and Terry are so into cooking and family recipes that the gift they gave to their wedding guests was a "Terrica" family recipe book. Erica spent almost a year gathering recipes from both sides of their families, along with recipes from all of their chef friends.
Erica is also a huuuuuge proponent of balance, so as much as she eats and imbibes, she also bikes, meditates, believes in the power of prayer, is an active Zumba-er and is a major yoga-lover. She practices four days a week and is convinced it can change your life.
And in general, Erica loves dark chocolate, spaghetti, show tunes, headstands, bacon-wrapped dates, high high heels, no-makeup days, Grandma Molly, Billy Joel, Nordstrom, her puppies Pippin and Gigi, the state of Maine, Breaking Bad, meatballs and matzah balls, the Cubs, and her son Charlie, husband Terry, mom, dad and sister.