Leonie Dobbins, owner of the Red Elephant Bakery Cafe, operates the hideaway of teatime lovers throughout Rim Country. The eatery -- located in the backroom solarium of the Carpenter's Wife -- serves up much more, including homemade sandwiches, soups, salads and quiches. Dobbins said she'll serve up her special caramel-topped cookies and miniature quiches for the event.
The Rim Country's top culinary notables will share their talents for a benefit to raise money for the Payson Public Library expansion project.
The Library Friends of Payson and the Payson Roundup, will co-host this savory event, A Taste of Rim Country, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Tonto Apache Community Center.
General admission tickets will be available in early January. Fifty percent of the ticket cost is tax-deductible. Funds raised will go toward the $1.4 million library expansion project, designed to fit the growing needs of Payson. The plan calls for a 5,500-square-foot wing stocked with wireless Internet access, 20 computer terminals and extra space.
What's your favorite dish to cook?
Bread baking is what I like to do most. I love the feel of kneading dough.
What do you love to eat?
Cheese and fresh-baked bread.
What is the most complicated dish you've ever made?
An Indonesian dish, "Rijstatfel," which means rice table. There are a lot of separate dishes to prepare.
Who inspired your love of food and cooking? When did you start cooking?
I started cooking when I was about 10. If my sister and I didn't bake, we never get cake and dessert unless my grandmother came to visit us annually.
What's your worst cooking disaster?
We are still looking for something to happen. It's still the early days for the Red Elephant. I have dropped a tray of glasses of iced tea.
What's the hardest part of your job?
Finding the time for the paperwork and getting enough help.
What do you love most about what you do?
Baking and cooking for people to enjoy and meeting and talking to the customers.
Tell us one thing about cooking that people don't know.
It's all in the timing.
Is there a trade secret that every person who cooks should know?
Yes. Don't give out trade secrets.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to cook for a living?
Buy an apron and just go for it.
What's your favorite dish?
Currently, stir-fry cooked by my husband.
What's in your refrigerator at home?
Milk, OJ, yogurt, wine, vegetables, cheese and chutney.