Philadelphia native Hope Cohen began her culinary
career at a very young age in the late 1970's.
When she was just 18 years old, the self-taught chef started her own catering business after having worked in both front and back of the house positions in upscale restaurants on Philadelphia's exclusive Main Line.
The drive to advance her budding culinary career led Cohen to the kitchens of the premier chefs and restauranteurs in Philadelphia and its suburbs. The father of Philadelphia's restaurant renaissance, Neil Stein, recognized her talent and employed her as a culinary consultant to several of his posh eateries: Striped Bass, Rouge, Bleu and Avenue B. Esquire magazine's "Chef of the Year," Guillermo Pernot also requested her help with his Vega Grill and ¡Pasion! restaurants.
Being so much in demand with such a dizzying schedule, Chef Cohen still managed to make time to expand her culinary repertoire through apprenticeships with several Michelin Star chefs in France and Italy. Wishing to parlay her well-rounded experience into an even greater role in Philadelphia's exploding culinary scene, Chef Cohen auditioned for and won the role of host of "The Fretz Kitchen," Comcast CN8's leading cooking show. Her knowledge, easy-going manner and on-air charisma have attracted the nation's most celebrated, talented chefs and sommeliers as guests of the show, and have helped expand its reach to over 20 million living rooms nationally. As a result, she is a highly esteemed member of and has excellent relationships within the culinary communities in Philadelphia, the Mid-Atlantic and New England states.
In 2002, Chef Cohen's entrepreneurial spirit led her to found her own culinary consulting company, Strawberryblonde Consulting. As founder and President, she advises an ever-more-prestigious list of clients on restaurant concepts, cuisine, menus and proper culinary execution. She also instructs culinary seminars and has been a guest lecturer on food & culture at the ivy league powerhouse University of Pennsylvania. The world's largest television retailer, QVC, has taken notice, tapping Strawberryblonde and Chef Cohen to represent culinary products on air on a regular basis. She has been invited on several occasions to join James Beard Award winning chefs, as guest chefs in the kitchen at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, part of The James Beard Foundation.
Chef Cohen's hard work has earned her the reputation of one of Philadelphia's gastronomic movers and shakers. She has been featured in the "Vanguard" section of Philadelphia Style magazine, the food section of the Philadelphia Daily News, and has graced the covers of chic mags Main Line Today and Real Philly. BMW, N.A. has nabbed her for national print advertising and Southwest Airlines followed suit, offering her a role in several nationally televised commercials. Recognizing the value of her on-air persona, several notoriously egocentric local restaurateurs have even replaced themselves with Cohen in their restaurant commercials.
In her continuing quest for education and self improvement, Cohen still travels extensively throughout Europe, studying restaurants, the art of cooking and their relation to culture.