The Art of Food: Elizabeth Màrcano-Kennedy spotlight
GAYLORD — This week we found ourselves at the Sugar Bowl once again to chat with newly local cook and entrepreneur Elizabeth Màrcano-Kennedy. Little did we know we were about to meet such a fascinating woman.
Originally from Venezuela, Màrcano-Kennedy studied architecture at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. She also completed her Master Degree in Urban Design from the Universidad Metropolitana de Venezuela.
“It was really interesting,” Màrcano-Kennedy said. “I went from designing a house or a bathroom to a designing a city. It is the same in the kitchen you go from making a sandwich to a whole menu.”
The political unrest in Venezuela that is making headlines today began 20 years ago. Hugo Chavez’s socialist regime halted business, construction and progress in general (as history has repeatedly shown us happens every time, cough cough), forcing Màrcano-Kennedy to seek opportunities outside of her native country.
“All the projects that we had going we put to a stop, everybody was kind of, ‘OK wait, we have to wait.’ We are not going to invest. People stopped doing things,” she said.
Màrcano-Kennedy got a student visa and joins her sister, a University of Michigan student at the time, in Ann Arbor. She studied arts at Washtenaw Community College and works with glass, blacksmithing and welding (what a gangster! I want to be her when I grow up).
She met a man, they fell in love, got married and started a business. Her husband has been her main supporter, if not the only reason she began cooking her signature style of Venezuelan cuisine. In 2006, she expanded her studies to culinary arts.
Màrcano-Kennedy began selling baked goods and frozen foods at farmer’s markets, as well as, specialty food store Morgan & York owned and operated by in Tommy York Ann Arbor. They opened Marcano’s Take Out in 2010. After one year they decided not to pursue that endeavor anymore, but Màrcano-Kennedy stayed cooking as a personal chef to a few families and teaching in the downstate area. She was also a practicing architect designing kitchens for a firm in Ann Arbor.
Fast forward to around 2013. Màrcano-Kennedy’s husband, a retired IT professional, began farming as a hobby. Soon Kidd Farm was born as a community-supported agricultural farm. They quickly outgrew their space and found seven acres in Grayling last summer.
Màrcano-Kennedy found her way to our legendary Sugar Bowl and has worked there in many capacities, however, currently, she is focused on the management side of the business.
The couple has big plans for this area. Farm-to-table dinners, as well as, talks of re-opening Màrcano’s Take-Out at the Northern Market in Grayling. Let’s see if we can entice Màrcano-Kennedy into participating in Ethic Alley for this year’s Alpenfest. We are super excited to have someone so talented ready to expand our local palate.