Laurel Run Cooking School Instructors

Our Instructors

Marcia DePalma Owner. Marcia's love of cooking has been lifelong. She began raising herbs 30 years ago and followed her dream of opening a school to teach others how to use and cook with them. She advanced her culinary education under the tutelage of the renowned Zona Spray at the Western Reserve School of Cooking and through various other cooking classes. Marcia and her husband Dan travel extensively and she draws much of her class ideas from these travels. She has been a Cooking Instructor for 15 years.
Chef Beth (Ringlein) Funk graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. She has been Executive Sous Chef with Oakwood Club in Cleveland for 6 years, Executive Chef Plum Brook Country Club for 5 years, and has been with EHOVE Career Center Adult Education since 2006 where she teaches Adult Culinary and Food Safety.
Chef Carmella Fragassi, owner and chef of the popular La Campagna Restaurant in Westlake. Carmella's focus is on regional, seasonal and Italian cuisine.
Kathy Lehr is a nationally known bread baking expert, an educator, & restaurant consultant. Kathy was mentored by French Chef Danielle Forrestier, trained by Zona Spray and is a graduate of WRSOC. Last year she received training with Jeff Hamelman and James MacGuire, both leading bread authorities. She teaches in cooking schools in Ohio and has been at Laurel Run for 6 years. She has a DVD "Classic French Bread and More".
Marilou Suszko cooking instructor, cookbook author. Marilou enjoys educating others about seasonal foods and small family farms. As a freelance writer, her work appears in numerous local, regional and national publications. She is author of Farms and Foods of Ohio: From Garden Gate to Dinner Plate; The Locavore's Kitchen and 100 Years and Still Cooking: Cleveland's West Side Market.
George Soos starts his 9th year at Laurel Run. George enjoys sharing stories along with his passion for food and cooking and is an “ethnic foods devotee”. George started cooking at home as a young boy and learned his meat cutting skills while working at the famed West Side Market in Cleveland. He has further honed his skills and education over the years with workshops and classes in Europe, Central America and across the US.
Marcia Thomas attended the Personal Chef program at Loretta Paganinni's Cooking School. She has cooked for many large charity events. She has been teaching at Laurel Run for 6 years.
Gary L Twining, Certified Wine Educator, has taught wine classes at Ohio State University's Continuing Education and is a frequent instructor at Laurel Run. He enjoys teaching basic and advanced classes in an easy-to-understand manner.
Carla Snyder After a semester studying in Europe & with a BA in journalism, Carla began a 30-year culinary journey as a caterer, cooking school teacher, artisan baker, food writer, and cookbook co-author of 5 books. Her cookbook The Big Book of Appetizers, co-authored with Meredith Deeds, was nominated for a James Beard Award, and their 300 Sensational Soups was chosen by Good Morning America as one of the top 10 cookbooks of the year in 2009. Carla's most recent release is an e-book with an app titled Serves Two.

Please Welcome...

Tom Cizmar is an avid cook, bread baker and organic gardener. "I always remember being in the kitchen or garden. My Italian mother taught me how to cook greens and make sauce, and my Slovak father how to grow tomatoes and garlic." In his travels to over sixty countries, Tom has cooked in a B&B in London and a kosher kitchen in Jerusalem. He has attended cooking classes in Florence, Italy, has a Grande Diplome from the WRSOC in Hudson, Ohio and has attended a professional bread baking workshop at The King Arthur Baking Center in Vermont. Tom is currently in France where he will be living and touring for the next five months. Tom plans to return to Laurel Run in September. You can follow Tom's travels and food experiences on Facebook.
Chef Anna Weisend Pastry Chef, has owned and operated The Grand Finale, a custom cake decorating business since 2000. She teaches professional curriculum in pastry arts as an adjunct faculty member at Cuyahoga Community College, at The International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute, and recreational baking classes at Western Reserve School of Cooking.
Chef David Lowe is not teaching this winter.