2008 Woman of the Year Awards

    by -


    Everything in her brain revolves around food.


    This is why Caitlin Steininger, founder and partner of Cooking with Caitlin, discovered her passion at such a young age. “I have been cooking my whole life. I was a picky eater growing up and as the baby of my family, no one would cook me a separate dinner. So I began making my own dinners in third grade,” Steininger recalls. “I decided when I was a freshman in high school that culinary school was the only option for me. I loved working and cooking. It was perfect.”


    After culinary school at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago and a mentorship in Cincinnati with the talented Chef Jean-Paul Belmont, Steininger laid the groundwork for her own e-business, Cooking with Caitlin.


    “Cooking with Caitlin is an internet-based business devoted to sharing video demonstrations, recipes, cooking tips, and easy, affordable meals to first-time cooks and experienced cooks alike,” says Steininger. “Our goal is to empower you with confidence in everything from cutlery to cuisine, the confidence it takes to have fun in the kitchen.” The business has grown since it started a year and a half ago and every menu is unique as they never serve the same thing twice.


    At the young age of 21 and her business booming with a quarter-to-quarter growth of 280%, Steininger’s passion continues to drive her success. “Because I am so young, I’m full of new ideas and energy; I’m not afraid of working a 20-hour day to wake up and do it all over again,” she says. “It’s hard not to be passionate about my work; I get to be creative doing what I love, working with people I love.”0208GIBBERMAN.gif


    Steininger attributes the success to her enjoyment of what she does. “I think what makes Cooking with Caitlin successful is the amount of fun we have doing it,” Steininger says. “Every night I go to bed a special kind of tired, a great tired because I know I’ve laughed and fed people a lot of yummy food. Being able to laugh every day at work makes it all worth doing.”


    Her inspiration is drawn from reading anything about food and sharing food stories. “I feel like I’m never done learning and experimenting in the kitchen,” she says. “I love hearing about new restaurants my parents have visited, which dishes were their favorites, as well as stories from my dad’s childhood about eating Uncle Joe’s homemade gnocchi.”


    Steininger says she hasn’t been given anything in life she can’t handle. “At only 21, I have lived a lot of life, and I can honestly say that everything has happened for a reason,” she says. “If I hadn’t lived on my own right out of high school I don’t think I would have been ready to be married with two kids now. And if I hadn’t worked so hard then, I wouldn’t have known how much I can accomplish now.”


    The nomination submitted for Steininger to be the Cincy Chic Woman of the Year explains how she is an inspiration for all young entrepreneurs: “She encourages people to come to her social cooking events to teach them how cooking can be fun. She is always dressed ‘casual chic’ and she teaches people to cook at home more often which is the healthier option,” the nomination reads.


    Based on the criteria of this award, Steininger personifies and excels in all qualities represented in Cincy Chic editorial: Health, Beauty, Fashion, Social and Career. So, make sure to keep an eye (and tummy) out for this food fanatic!


    Although Steininger is the recipient of the Cincy Chic Woman of the Year Award, the runners-up deserve recognition, too. The runners-up (in no particular order) are:0708DEGROOT_FASHION.gif


    Charlotte Jacobs, head coach of the Ben-gals and former Ben-gal herself, who understands that one needs to be on top of her game to succeed. She encourages all the Ben-gals to be in tip-top shape, primped to a T, on the cutting edge of fashion, involved in the community and most of all, she treats it like a business.


    Barbara Perez, president of the Arthritis Foundation Ohio River Valley, is not only the epitome of health as a tall, skinny and healthy woman, but she also helps others in our region to be healthy. As president of the local Arthritis Foundation chapter, she inspires innovation by creating many new public health activities for adults and children with arthritis.


    Melody Wolf, goldsmith at Olive Branch Metals, came to Cincinnati after graduate school in England in a flourish of good will, charity and respect for everyone around her. It has shown in the social network she has developed, the jewelry and artwork she uses for social welfare and the unending compliments from anyone who comes in contact with her.


    Sue Beck Currie, owner and creative director of Salon Beck, has brought her passion to education to her business. She spends one day each week on continuing education with her team of stylist, inspiring them to technical brilliance. Beck is focused on bringing out the best in her team members and has strong mentoring systems in place to develop talent.


    Kami Kinnett, owner of White Lotus Studios, is passionate about photography and weddings. Since deciding to open her own company in 2005, her business is booming with an increase to staff to eight, tripling her booking prices and booking weddings up to two years in advance throughout the Midwest. She has been recognized by several publications and is also part of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.1108SENSIBLE.gif


    Philomena Ashdown, attorney at Strauss & Troy, has achieved a balance of career and family. Her career as an attorney has led her to chair several professional committees and teach financial literacy programs for high school and college students. When she is not working, she is an ardent gardener and is equally at home in her muck boots turning compost as she is wearing her ornate Indian sari to the Opera Ball. She also enjoys cooking and teaching anyone the intricacies of her native Indian cuisine.


    Lee Ann Hamilton, director of Business News at the Cincinnati Enquirer, is the first editor to arrive at work each day and the last to leave. Between editing many award winning stories and bring a fashionista in heels, Hamilton inspires with her finesse. She has hosted the Smart Talk Series at the Aronoff and individually orchestrates and hosts The Enquirer Women of the Year luncheon for several years.


    Elizabeth Edwards, a venture capitalist who started as an associate Neyer Holdings Corp. at the age of 23, is one of few women in her field. Edwards has evaluated hundreds of startups and raised over $100,000 for melanoma research, hosted various events and was named one of the Business Courier‘s 40 under 40.


    Rebecca Long, a veteran with over 20 years in the beauty industry, is licensed and highly skilled in make-up and nail artistry as well as esthetics and fashion styling. She has been a working artist on both the east and west coast and has collaborated with celebrity artists and clients, as well as many of San Francisco’s socialites and beauty editors.