Cutting Edges: Lauren Culley (baker) and Jeff Excell (coffee star), owners, Fox in the Snow Cafe

G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive

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

(LC)I'd recently moved to Brooklyn and visited the Brooklyn Flea with my mom, who was visiting from Ohio. Along with vintage clothing, bikes, furniture and records, the flea market has some of the best food vendors in the city, selling under tents and from carts. A small bakery in Bed-Stuy was selling a hand-ripped chunk of bread with just-made hot mozzarella, kale pesto and a heavy drizzle of locally made olive oil - one of the best things I've ever eaten. I asked the baker if I could volunteer in his kitchen, and started baking the next week.

If not cheffing, what might you be doing?

(LC) I'd still be in book publishing, sitting at my cubicle, editing.

(JE) Writing


Local restaurants:

(LC) I could eat the fish tacos at Philco at least twice a week (we're there a lot). I could eat pho in the North Market about the same amount.

(JE) The chicken pasta dish at Figlio is amazing; the best pasta I've had in Columbus. I could eat the chili at Philco every day.


(LC): Harvest. Their kale salad (alone) is worth going for.

(JE): Harvest

Pig-out food:

(LC) Doritos. Cheetos? Anything unnaturally colored and covered in salt.

(JE) Chipotle. All day. Everyday.


(LC)"The Lives of Others"

(JE)"The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou"

Food movie:

(JE) It's not a movie, but "Party Down" is the best food-service show I've ever seen. I worked catering for years and it's incredibly accurate, which makes it incredibly funny.


(LC) Anything incredibly hoppy. Seventh Son always does it right, so does Victory Brewing in Pennsylvania. I will never say no to a margarita, with, wait for it ... salt.

(JE) Whiskey gingers, old fashioneds and Scrimshaw Pilsner

Hangover cure:

(LC) Bagel and cream cheese, deli coffee with lots of sugar and milk

(JE) Huevos rancheros


(LC) Urbana

(JE) Central California


(LC) OSU (undergrad), University of Virginia (masters), Columbia (post-grad)

(JE) French degree from San Francisco State

Previous experience:

(LC) Editor turned full-time professional baker throughout NYC

(JE) 12 years coffee experience including Blue Bottle in Williamsburg