Jan and Adrian Marnell, owners of the Strawberry Lodge, came to the Rim Country like many of its residents -- to vacation.
"We were ready for a change and to get out of the city," said Jan Marnell, who purchased the Lodge in 2002. "We fell in the love with the Strawberry Lodge."
In February, the Marnells will join other Rim Country culinary notables or 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 event, A Taste of Rim Country, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Tonto Apache Community Center.
General admission tickets will be available Jan. 2. 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.
Jan Marnell, Strawberry Lodge
What's your favorite dish to cook?
Pasta dishes from scratch. I love making fresh pasta and sauces.
What do you love to eat?
All foods -- Thai, Italian, Latin influences.
What is the most complicated dish you've ever made?
Puff pastry from scratch. Too much rolling, folding and chilling.
Who inspired your love of food and cooking? When did you start cooking?
My mom. She is a great cook. I learned a lot from cooking with her. I started cooking professionally in 1999. Graduated in 2001 from the Art Institute of Phoenix, culinary arts program.
What is your worst cooking disaster?
We put a prime rib on for Saturday night. The pilot was out and we found out an hour before service that we had an uncooked prime rib.
What's the hardest part of your job?
Keeping up with the paperwork.
What do you love most about what you do?
Satisfying people and seeing them smile.
Tell us one thing about cooking that people don't know.
It's a 24-7 job.
Is there a trade secret that every person who cooks should know?
We all have our secrets. Keep them to yourself.
What is your family's favorite dish?
Pizza. Italian food.
What's in your refrigerator at home?
Eggs, milk, juice. We mostly eat at the Lodge.