A Collection of Written Works


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy my work for four distinctly different media outlets: WCPO – the ABC-affiliated television station in Cincinnati, Ohio; Polly Magazine – an arts and culture magazine; Movers & Makers – a Cincinnati arts and culture publication; and Our Kitchen Roots – my personal blog. You might notice a common theme across these stories: Food. Well, that’s no accident. Food is a universal connector; it frees us to share the most amazing stories. It also connects the different chapters of my professional life, from my early days in engineering to now, a brand maker through great storytelling.

Latest Stories

Farmstand Market & Cafe will soon serve its farm-fresh fare at Newport’s Wooden Cask Brewery

Photo provided by Tricia Houston: Farmstand Market & Cafe in Union, KY

Good news for Cincinnati fans of Farmstand Market & Cafe: You can soon get your farm-fresh food fix closer to home. This spring, the eatery will expand to Wooden Cask Brewing Company in Newport. Farmstand has the distinction of being one of only three restaurants in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to appear in the book “Truth, Love and Clean Cutlery” — a new publication that features the world’s top restaurants based on the quality of food, service, conscientious sourcing and stewardship of the customers, staff, community and environment.

Click here for more: Farmstand expands to Newport

New Year’s Luck

Photo by G. Yek: Kathleen Norris (L) and Grace Yek on New Year’s Day

Thanks to Kathleen Norris’s invitation to her New Year’s Day gathering, I started off the New Year with “good luck” food. I’m not particularly superstitious, but like everybody else, I’m all for a little added insurance. Take it from me, her black-eyed peas and greens were lip-smacking tasty. She even made a vegetarian version out of an abundance of hospitality.

Photo by G. Yek: Black-eyed Peas and Greens

If you’re a Cincinnati local, you may already know who Kathleen is, but if you don’t, you probably should.

Kathleen is the Principal and Managing Director of Urban Fast Forward, a real estate brokerage firm that specializes in urban development and revitalizion. She had a direct hand in transforming Over-the-Rhine from an unremarkable and arguably dicey neighborhood into what it is today–a vibrant center of food and retail.

Let’s just say she had the foresight to bring in Daniel Wright and his wife, Lana (newcomers at the time), to start Senate back in 2010. That, in turn, sparked a constellation of exciting, independent, mostly chef-owned restaurants that have snapped many national food arbiters to attention.

This woman understands business, restaurants, and, above all, has clear vision and strategy. Cincinnati is fortunate to have this powerhouse of a leader.

Stuck in your office during lunch? No problem. LunchLobby will bring the restaurant to you

This is one of the more innovative things happening in Greater Cincinnati. In what may sometimes seem like a saturated restaurant market, LunchLobbycincy, a tech-driven startup, is carving out new space and delivering a 3-way win. They’re helping area restaurants, office workers, and proving out their business model. I’m heartened to see their platform avails the same opportunities to the young food entrepreneurs (Findlay Kitchen, Mortar Cincinnati, etc.) as it does to the more seasoned ones. A total win for this city’s food industry. Thanks to Josh Campbell of Django Western Taco, Brian Jackson of Eli’s BBQ, and John Kallenberger of Roll On In for sharing their experience and perspective.

Photo by G. Yek: Phil Leisure, co-owner of LunchLobby

Click here for more: LunchLobby Cincinnati

New Noodle & Hot Pot restaurant near Kings Automall serves up seven kinds of soup-based delights

What this restaurant offers is nothing short of cuisine immersion. Come hungry, be prepared to cook your food at the table and eat like a “local” (as in Chongqing, near Sichuan). Best to come with a group of hungry eaters; that way, you get to sample more variety. Not all soups are spicy but if you’re a “spicy” thrillseeker, I’d recommend the “nine-box spicy” soup. The use of beef fat and more than 25 different ingredients in the stock sets the flavor and heat level off to the stratosphere. I mean it–it’s pretty much liquid fire.

Photo by G. Yek: Noodle & Hot Pot’s bone soup, left, and nine boxes spicy soup, with assorted ingredients.

Click here for more: Noodle & Hot Pot

Pumpkin Sticky Rice Balls (南瓜汤圆)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, traditional Chinese sticky rice balls get a New World makeover with the incorporation of pumpkin. Pumpkin, a staple in “New World” America, gives these sweet, chewy rice balls their own identity. This recipe centers on pumpkin–two ways. The first (and easier) variety is to simply incorporate the pumpkin into the sticky rice dough. The second variety uses the pumpkin as a filling and involves a couple extra steps including a slightly more involved preparation of the pumpkin filling. Either way, these sticky rice balls are perfect to share with friends and family, and may even put a smile on a few faces.

Photo by G. Yek: Pumpkin Sticky Rice Balls (done 2-Ways) served with Ginger Infused Light Syrup

Click here for more: Recipe for Pumpkin Sticky Rice Balls

Here are 9 great Thanksgiving dining options if you can’t — or don’t want to — eat at home

Food and Thanksgiving go together like hand and glove; traditionally, the two would leisurely converge at home with family and friends. But that’s not always the case for everyone. Here are my recommendations for eating out this year. There’s a little something for everyone including those who may have to work on Thanksgiving.

Photo from WCPO File

Click here for more: 9 Thanksgiving Dining Options