Sascha's 527 Cafe with Cathy Bind

by Randi Rom

Cathy Bind, Executive Chef at Sascha’s 527 Café, is considered a chef’s chef among her peers as well as by her employers. “She’s not afraid to get in the trenches and do the prep work—she’s not one to simply expedite,” says owner Sascha Wolhandler. Chef Bind emphasizes “We don’t pull any punches, if we need a thousand straws (Sascha’s well known spicy, crunchy breadsticks), we do it together as a team—that’s why we’ve been together so long.”

A self admitted graduate of the school of hard knocks, Cathy got her training from the people she’s worked with. She began working when she was just sixteen, making sandwiches alongside her mother, Ruth Mullen (who was also the ravioli maker at Chiapparelli’s) at the Mount Washington Tavern. Her father, Louis Mullen was a baker at Baltimore’s famous Rice’s Bakery and Cathy admits that she got the foodie bug as a child baking cupcakes.

Out of high school, her first professional job was at H&M Pockets. Her next stop was at Peabody Court, where she met her former husband Philippe Bind, a French pastry chef. Together they traveled to his homeland of France where Cathy worked in a small café. Back in Baltimore, she began working at Sascha’s with Quinn Applebee, whom she worked with at Peabody Court. Cathy has been at Sascha’s for eleven years. For four years she was a sous chef under Applebee and then became Executive Chef, a position she has had for the last seven years.

Sascha’s 527 Café is located at 527 North Charles Street in a 19th century townhouse in historic Mt. Vernon. But, Sascha’s is more than just a restaurant. Cathy’s kitchen runs many different operations. Sascha’s has a significant presence in the metropolitan area as an upscale caterer. Catering’s day-part is Sascha’s Silver Sacs, which delivers tasty meals in a sac. The restaurant offers a casual dining experience during the day and at night the style is transformed into a cozy, white tablecloth restaurant for dinner.

Sascha’s, under the helm of Chef Bind, is known for its unique dishes that apply palettes from America, Asia, Morocco and France, creating a menu with global cuisine. Some of Chef Bind’s most popular dishes include charred, grilled shrimp with creamy parmesan grits and andouille sausage; pan seared, five spice Ahi tuna and Napa slaw with fruit sushi and ginger lemongrass broth. Another favorite is the grilled filet in a wine and grape sauce with Pommes Maxim and sautéed chards of zucchini. Their best selling taste plates offer mini bison burgers with a Moroccan barbeque sauce; fried green tomatoes, with mixed greens and lump crab and balsamic reduction; crispy on the outside–moist in the middle crab cake sliders; smoked duck quesadillas and Old Bay fries in a cone. Sascha’s offers tasty homemade desserts such as black bottom cupcakes, raspberry, coconut granola bars and a host of cakes, cookies and ice creams. “One of my favorite dishes to prepare is Asian tofu with spicy green beans,” notes Bind. “And our menu creation is different with each sous chef—we don’t go by trends.” To that end, one of Cathy’s unique creations–chocolate chili–was awarded first place at the 2009 Chocolate Affair—a benefit for Healthcare for the Homeless.

Being a local Baltimorean, Chef Bind supports local purveyors such as Saval Foodservice for meat, cheese and dairy, Bel Air Produce and Gunpowder Bison to name a few.

“Being a chef is one of those things–you either love it or hate it–you have to have a passion.” Her motto is “every day is a story, laugh all the time.”


Sascha's 527 Café
www.Saschas.com
410.539.8880

 


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