Cutting Edges: Lara Yazvac-Pipia, chef/owner, Two-Top Consulting

G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive

When did you get serious about cooking, andwhat was your main inspiration?

Traveling as a young person had a huge impact on my interest in food. Besides that, I remember watching the "Great Chefs" series on PBS. My parents also had a ton of cookbooks and a subscription to Saveur magazine, which I would pore over the way other 12-year-olds scrutinize comic books or Tiger Beat magazine.

If not cheffing, what might you be doing?

I play music, paint - you know, all the things that make a person no money. If I were to do anything else that might put food on the table, it would probably be in design.

Any big plans for the new year?

I'm planning on continuing the "Warmth" Pop-Up at Ace of Cups. We're doing one the last Sunday of January, and if people are interested, I will start doing one monthly. I'm also planning dinners and possibly cooking classes at the lovely Kate Djupe's amazing new food incubator, The Commissary. I think a lot of great things are going to come out of that space.


Local restaurants: The pig cheek confit at Wolf's Ridge Brewing for brunch knocked my socks off. Since my husband is a vegan, I like Till because we can both find something to satisfy us. Same for Alana's; not only is the menu fun and ever-changing, but I always have the best service experience in town there. And of course I have to mention Kihachi. Chef Mike provides the most special dining experience of all.

Pizza: Hands down, Bono Pizza is, by far, the best-kept pizza secret in Columbus.

Cheap eats: Cafe Bourbon Street on Monday for the only dollar taco on a soft corn tortilla, my fave for tacos.

Food Truck: Aromaku (for fried chicken), Challah

Music to listen to while you cook or eat: I think classic soul or blues always makes food taste better; if you've got Big Mama Thornton or Solomon Burke on your turntable, nothing is going to come out wrong.

Food movie: "Tampopo"

Cocktails/beer: I really like whiskey drinks - I've been making one with sour cherry syrup, lemon, black walnut bitters, orange blossom water and a splash of soda. It really hits the spot on a cold day.

Hangover cure: Ibuprofen, coconut water, a chocolate milk shake, something fried and seaweed salad … and more sleep.

Hometown: New Orleans

Education: Evergreen State College in Washington, CCAD for graphic design

Previous experience: Northstar Cafe, Freedom a la Cart