Featured Foodie: Cyndi Finkle

Business woman and foodie Cyndi Finkle

Business woman and foodie Cyndi Finkle

The Midas Touch---you know the phrase? It references the 8th century mythical King of Phrygia who was granted the power to transform whatever he touched into gold. I think Cyndi Finkle of Los Angeles might just be the 21st century’s version.

Finkle’s gilded resume reads like a what-I-want-to be-when-I-grow-up kaleidoscope of cool job titles. Photo journalist, author, food photographer, caterer for major TV shows, art studio owner, cool café maven, wife and mother, to name just a few of the hats she wears with savvy panache. But it’s food that has nourished her entrepreneurial spirit the most.

“I love to feed people and to create events that bring food and people together, she said. “So I started having dinner parties on my roof when I was living in NYC in my twenties.”

Landing back in Los Angeles a few years later, Finkle parlayed her dinner party flair into a monthly Sunday event where she'd cook dinner for about 50 friends and serve them on the roof of her downtown loft. It was her wedding, however, that turned this convivial idea into a thriving business.

“I decided to cook all the food myself and throw a dinner party for my 300 guest.” she said. “I knew that if I could cater my own wedding, I could do anything. “

 With no formal culinary training, and her signature tenacity, Finkle started a catering and craft services company (craft service provides food for the cast, crew, and extras working on film and television productions).  She called it Sunday Night Dinner, an homage to those rooftop parties. Sixteen years later, her company is still going strong and feeds crews on television’s biggest shows such as Wipeout, Hell's Kitchen, the Biggest Loser, Master Chef and many others.

With that running smoothly, Finkle decided to launch another ball into the air. Art Works Studios, a studio and classroom for artists of all ages, opened in 2010 and now has two locations. When a space opened next door, she added café owner to her resume (why not?), something she says she's always dreamed of doing. Coffee + Food has been thriving for six months. The simple yet contemporary spot is speckled with Finkle's gorgeous black and white photos, and the name suggests the attention lands squarely where it should---on good coffee and wholesome food. Pumpkin, arugula, mozzarella, pesto and tomato sandwich? Yes, please!

What’s next for Finkle? Who knows. No doubt she has something cooking; no doubt the idea will be golden.

Should we just call it the Finkle touch?

 I think so!

The Foodie Five

1. What is your favorite food memory from childhood? 

My grandmother was an amazing cook. She made the best peach pie with homemade ice cream. I remember summers by her pool, where we would swim, bar-b-que, and eat her peach pie and ice cream.

2. If you could cook in anyone’s kitchen, whose would it be and why?  

When I was traveling as a student in Europe, there was a castle in Spain that we visited with beautiful vistas, and I dreamed of one day hosting a dinner party there. 

3. No one is looking. What is your secret food fetish? 

Gummy worms. Usually I prefer savory to sweet, but the red and clear gummy worms make me happy.

4. For my last supper, I would love __________________ to prepare a meal for me.

Giada De Laurentis.

5. Congratulations, you have carte blanche to dine in any city in the world! Where would you go and why? 

I would love to dine in Paris!  The last time I was there I had no money and did not eat meat so I missed out on the experience of fine French dining. 

Visit Cyndi at her Art Works Studio.

Know anyone who wants to be a featured foodie? Contact: kimberley@kimberleylovato.com

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Kimberley Lovato

Kimberley Lovato has written about travel, lifestyle and food for national and international publications and websites including National Geographic Traveler, Executive Travel, American Way, AFAR, Condé Nast Traveller (UK), Ryan Air, b.there, Easy Jet Traveller, leitesculinaria.com and frommers.com, among others. She is the author of a Michelin Guidebook on Brussels, where she lived for six years Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, about the Dordogne region of France, won the "Best Travel Book" nod in 2012 from the Society of American Travel Writers, as did her personal essay, "Lost and Liberated," which also appeared in Best Women's Travel Writing, Volume 8. When she's not plotting her next trip or her annual pilgrimage to France, she resides in San Francisco where she is a correspondent for BBC's Passport Blog, a student in Stanford University's Creative Writing Certificate program, and a brave mother of a teenaged girl.