The headline “Please Eat the Daisies” caught my eye, and after I read the article announcing that a mother-daughter duo from Philadelphia was in Naples to lead a demonstration on creating edible centerpieces, I signed up immediately!
You can imagine how delighted I was when I walked into the session last week and saw yet another generation involved in the business – see the cute little girl in between mom and grandma in the photo?
The session was great fun as Culinary Director, Charlotte Ann Albertson and her daughter, Co-Director, Ann-Michelle Albertson showed us how to make crudité flower baskets, melon carousels, squash terrines, tomato roses and more. They taught the class in a collaborative way, both talking as they worked side-by-side behind a long table cutting vegetables. They weren’t just chopping and cutting in the usual way with a paring knife but using all sorts of handy tools like daisy cutters, serrators, V- and U-shaped cutters, and vegetable spiralizers.`
Their quick-moving hands turned turnips into daisies with carrot rounds in the middle. They used a serrator to cut carrots, cucumbers and squash lengthwise and dropped them into ice water so that they would curl, made radish roses with an apple corer and placed the flowers and decorations on bamboo sticks before pushing them into the head of lettuce that filled the basket. By the time they were done, they had created this beautiful crudité arrangement with the colorful flowers ready to be dipped into a honey mustard dressing in their carved cabbage bowl!
While the group watched this mother-daughter duo assemble their colorful creations, I think most of us were wondering: “But, isn’t this like what Edible Arrangements® sells?” Charlotte Ann explained that many years ago she was surprised that her friend Susan took her class three times. When she asked her why, Susan responded that she wanted to start a business selling fruit bouquets. She launched her new venture under the name Incredible Edibles Inc. and ultimately expanded to sell franchises under the name Edible Arrangements. That multi-million dollar business originated with Charlotte Ann’s ideas!
When the class was finished, Charlotte Ann explained that they had all the fancy cutting tools for sale and that the profits are given to Alex’s Lemonade Stand to support pediatric cancer research.
What a creative and inspiring mother-daughter pair!
Read about Charlotte Ann and Ann-Michele, and check out the Albertson Cooking School:
Charlotte Ann has been directing cooking classes in Philadelphia and Florida for 26 years. She started up The Albertson Cooking School in Philly in 1973 and it is the longest standing in the area. Charlotte Ann has a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and acquired her culinary skills through extensive travel, classes at prestigious international cooking schools (including La Varenne and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris), in kitchens at top European restaurants, a summer at the American Embassy in Switzerland and Beringer Vineyards in California Napa Valley.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Ann-Michelle received her professional culinary training at La Varenne, France and has taken classes at the Culinary Institute of America, Johnson & Wales, L’Academie de Cuisine, Peter Kump’s New York and more. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Vermont and an M.S. from MGH/Harvard. Ann-Michelle is an avid historian and cultural enthusiast. On recent trips to China, Korea and Vietnam, she was enticed by many new foods. She plans culinary historical day tours for cooking school events and private groups.