Meet the Crew
Since 2007, Caitlin has been designing custom culinary experiences tailored to inspire confidence in and out of the kitchen. A chef trained at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, le Cordon Bleu, Caitlin put herself on the map by playing with everyday ingredients, and transforming them into playful, delicious, conversation-worthy foods. Having crafted hundreds of unique menus that have tickled the fancy of people around the globe, chef is just one of the accolades that can be attributed to her. Among others:
- Recipe Developer: Caitlin has crafted inspired everyday recipes for clients such as Kroger, Private Selection, Simple Truth, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, SunChips, and The Mushroom Council, to name a few.
- On-Camera Video Talent: Caitlin’s approachable, playful style has gotten the attention of more than a few well-known brands and retailers. Most recently, as the face of Kroger’s mymagazine extras iPad app, she has filmed dozens of clips to help promote brands and products found on the well-known retailer’s shelves. This, in addition to hosting a 12-episode state-wide TV series.
- Media Spokesperson: Caitlin has appeared live on air and in front of the camera to represent well-loved brands such as Mission Chips, and Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili.
- Cooking Demos/Presenter: Comfortable in front of a crowd, Caitlin has presented to audiences of 1000s, sharing culinary tips and tricks that will give confidence to cooks at all levels. This year, she will join the ranks of some of the food greats as a guest on the Cooking Theater Stage at the 2013 International Home + Housewares Show. Sandwiched between Rick Bayless and Fabio Viviani, she will surely dazzle the audience with her unique food style.
The Inside Scoop:
Caitlin was born on the same day as her older sister Megan, seven years younger, in the fair City of Cincinnati. Because her sisters were so much older, Caitlin spent most of her growing-up years attached to her mom and dad who took her everywhere. She had standing lunch dates with her mom Monday through Friday, and spent her weekends with her dad eating their way from market to market. By the time she was ten, Caitlin was not only making her own dinners, she had an opinion on shapes of pasta and the crustiness of bread. By the time she was in high school, she had perfected her M&M cookies and was taking orders for them.
During her four years of high school, Caitlin was lucky enough to clearly identify and tailor her time around her passion for food – the presentation of it, the artistry used to create it, the unifying effects of it. She worked in restaurant kitchens, dish rooms, drive-thrus, and bakeries, in an effort to learn every nook and cranny of her dream career. When she graduated, then, it was only natural that she’d jump right into culinary school.
Just months after turning 18, Caitlin moved to Chicago to attend the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC), an affiliate of Le Cordon Bleu. She moved to the city, to a small studio apartment, by herself, and wasted no time whisking herself into the culinary scene. Right away she got a job at the neighborhood pizza shop, and was continuously testing recipes at home. At CHIC, her favorite class was butchery. She loved nothing more than to break down an entire cow, or stuff her own sausage. Caitlin’s dreams were coming to life.
Towards the end of her Chicago stint, Caitlin fell in love. She knew – the way you know about a good melon – that she had the peas to her carrots in Andrew. They married shortly thereafter, and started their family right away. When CHIC wrapped for Caitlin, the new Steininger Family moved back to Cincinnati.
Caitlin is the youngest of the Cooking with Caitlin crew, and was just a couple weeks out of her teens when we started the business. She’s got lots of freckles, especially in the summer, and she’s so small in stature she requires a step-aerobics step to clear the smoke over the grill. Caitlin is not afraid to fail, and absolutely not afraid to work harder than anyone around her. She keeps crazy hours, knows how to draw the entire cast of Spongebob Squarepants, is not fond of talking on the phone, and she reads character really well. More than anything, however, Caitlin is intensely loyal to the people who matter the most to her – her husband and boys, her family, her friends.
The freckle-peppered paragraphs above make Caitlin uniquely qualified to be the Caitlin. She is the Food Department of Cooking with Caitlin. She designs all of the recipes, crafts all of the menus, cooks every bite we serve, and, via video, blog, and social media, educates the rest of us on everything from how to cut a tomato to how to make a burger better by choosing the right bun. With her attention on taste and texture, Caitlin uses classic flavor combinations in unheard-of ways, and is inspired to feed her audience what it craves.
When Kelly graduated Cleveland’s John Carroll in 1999, she packed up a van and moved to Chicago all by herself. She lived in a tiny apartment where her narrow mattress served not only as her bed, but also her couch, desk, and dinner table. She worked at the bars around Wrigley and studied improv at iO Chicago where Tina Fey had once performed. She L-O-V-E-D being in front of an audience and dreamt of doing it for a living. Shortly after she started, however, she was told by someone who knew better that she didn’t have what it takes. More specifically, that she was missing the edge that comes with a rough life.
And that person was right. Kelly has had an awesome life – full of fresh mozzarella, fine olive oils, and her favorite yellow cake with chocolate icing. She adores her family, her husband, and even her work (disgusting, right?). Within Cooking with Caitlin, Kelly coordinates the events, nurtures partner relationships, and writes most of the copy. At said events, and by way of her writing, she gets to flex the creative muscle she discovered she L-O-V-E-S in Chicago, and connect with an audience that’s hungry for the edge-less good news she has to offer. She is sick with entrepreneur fever, and hot to trot on Cooking with Caitlin’s smokin’ future.
Kelly is Caitlin’s much older sister, one of Molly’s best friends from high school, and Mom to three little girls who possess more personality in their pinky fingers than most people do in their whole bodies. Her husband Dale is a Cincinnati Reds super fan and part-time rapper. He had a “mullet” before it was called a “mullet,” and he loves an audience just as much as his lovely wife. They are perfect for each other.
Kelly’s favorite books are The Giving Tree, The Southern Living Cookbook, and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! She fancies her life quite similar to a Dr. Seuss book, in fact – full of exclamation points, all sorts of interesting characters, and riddled with bad hair. She’s happy to try green eggs and ham, and any other creative cuisine offered her, but seems to find herself in a pretty regular cycle of three meals she serves her family every night – tacos, pancakes, and grilled salmon. (They’re young; she’s trying.)
Molly grew up in Cincinnati near a chili parlor that serves gravy on their French fries. With her brother and sister she used to walk back and forth from school every day. Molly’s parents were composting before it was cool to compost. Her dad is famous for his garden; her mom for her chocolate-chip cookies and Christmas fudge. Molly first left the nest to attend college in Cleveland. After a couple years of northern Ohio winters, Molly found herself on the golden coast of California.
In and around Los Angeles, Molly finished college and proceeded to work lots of hours for lots of years in the travel industry. She’s served fascinating people in fabulous locations, and, along the way, mastered the art of navigating just about every airport in the world. Towards the end of her California days, Molly was bit by the entrepreneurial bug. With the itch to start a business, she moved back to Cincinnati where she found her ol’ friends Kelly and Caitlin looking to sooth the same itch.
You can hear the joy in Molly’s laugh. But what you need to know is that she is a brilliant business woman. Molly is the reason Cooking with Caitlin is a dot-com, and not just a group of chatty foodies. She’s the one who had the online vision to begin with, and – from video to social media to back-end code-speak – she’s the one who continues to keep cookingwithcaitlin.com cutting edge and relevant in this giant bowl of internet soup.
Speaking of soup, Molly is a big fan of most – except celery. She doesn’t like celery at all, in fact. She does, however, enjoy salads and – much to the chagrin of the classically French- trained Caitlin – is always requesting new ones. Molly is super organized, uncommonly focused, and could be captain of the Olympic Multi-Tasking Team. She learned to dance from Patti and Bootsy Collins, and, to the amazement of her friend Kelly, Molly can walk long distances, for long periods of time, in high heels.
Annie’s given name is Andrea but a lot of people don’t know that. She is Kelly and Caitlin’s cousin and one of three sisters too. Annie was raised in Columbus, Ohio, but moved to attend the University of Cincinnati. And although she still calls the Queen City home, she has never wavered in her devotion to Ohio State sports. Annie is passionate and candid and, no matter what, available to just listen. Even if you’re a University of Michigan fan. She wears brilliant colors particularly well and is not afraid to don bold accessories. As the voice behind the @foodiesnitein Twitter handle, within and without 140 characters, Annie is an excellent communicator. She is willing to try any new foods and makes a mean peppermint bark at Christmastime.
Elyse is Kelly and Caitlin’s cousin and Annie’s younger sister. Having grown up in the same Buckeye grove, she bleeds scarlet and gray; Elyse too lives in Cincinnati, but hails from the center of Ohio. She is particularly fond of newborn babies and dogs, but has no use at all for mushrooms. What she can do with duct tape, however, is limitless. Elyse is exceptionally handy and resourceful, and has dazzled the rest of us in her repairs of everything from a faulty electric air pump to a super-jammed door handle. She also happens to be fluent in back-end code-speak and patient enough to be a translator for the rest of us.
Annie and Elyse are the right hand (wo)men to Molly, Kelly, and Caitlin. They have been cooking with you-know-who from the very beginning and have been critical to the growth of Cooking with Caitlin all along. Annie and Elyse are kind and loyal and hard-working and not afraid to get their hands dirty. In fact, often they will be bussing tables and chirping tweets in the same five minutes. Now more than ever their interests in and talents for learning new media and hot-off-the-press technologies are helping to take Cooking with Caitlin to the next level.
Tracy is the real deal. Not afraid to put her shoulders back in any situation, Tracy loves the Cincinnati Bengals even as they are quite unlovable. She is married to Molly’s brother and mother to Molly’s brilliant nephew and niece. She is quite possibly the most engaged reader any of us knows; Tracy devours tomes the rest of us would only use to boost our children at the dinner table. As keeper of Cooking with Caitlin’s financial books, Tracy is saintly in her patience and bottomless in her knowledge. She is organized and energetic and ceaselessly generous to everyone around her.Meet the Crew,