Tricia Curtin ‘23 is currently a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame. As a pre-med track student, she is pursuing a degree in Neuroscience with a supplemental major in Spanish. Tricia’s passion for promoting a holistic vision of health inspired her to start her Instagram account, @curtinkitchen, where she posts photos and videos of delicious, healthy meals. Her colorful, artfully-plated eats and simple to follow recipes have garnered her account over 4,000 followers.
She began the project in the original March 2020 quarantine after her mother caught COVID and she began cooking much more frequently. What started as a creative outlet to share with her friends became a small business endeavor, garnering sponsorships and free products from small companies! Her favorite part of making food is sharing it with her friends, family members, and classmates.
Tricia is originally from Westchester, New York. Prior to attending Notre Dame, she was a National Merit Scholar at Kennedy Catholic High School. When she is not cooking up new creations, she is spending time with friends, studying, or at the gym!
Erin Clarke ’08 learned to bake in her Grammy’s kitchen on summer afternoons. Today, Clarke is the creator of the blog Well Plated and author of The Well Plated Cookbook, both of which are dedicated to making healthy eating affordable, accessible, and delicious. Inspired by the comfort foods of her childhood, Clarke set out to make some of those classic recipes healthier, or put a new twist on them. She started the blog in 2012 as a hobby, sharing the budget-friendly recipes she created while her husband, Ben Clarke ’08, was in law school. Now the site has grown to include more than 1,300 recipes and receives millions of visitors every month, along with the cookbook and an Instagram account with nearly 140,000 followers.
Clarke, who lives in Milwaukee, has cooked live on Good Morning America from her home kitchen, and been featured in People magazine and on Wisconsin Public Radio. As her blog following has grown and publicity rolled in from the cookbook, Clarke says she keeps the focus on being of service to her readers and that, “at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships and community.”
And so many readers are making her recipes because Clarke makes every effort to remove barriers to cooking healthy recipes at home. Her blog posts include step-by-step videos and suggestions for substitutions if you don’t have certain ingredients on hand, as well as options to adapt a recipe for certain dietary needs, like for gluten free or paleo diets. And she ends the posts with tips for storing, reheating, and freezing the dish. Clarke, who was a marketing major at Notre Dame, started Well Plated in 2012.
Sinai Vespie has served as Executive Pastry Chef for Campus Dining since 2017. In her role, Vespie oversees operations of the pastry and bake shops located in the Center for Culinary Excellence and serves as a member of the Campus Dining Culinary Council.
Vespie brought with her a wealth of experience. She began her career as a junior sous chef at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. She then moved to the Sweet Treats Cakery in Tampa where she honed her cake decorating skills and wowed customers with her custom cupcake and cake designs. Vespie worked as pastry chef at the the Tampa Marriott Waterside, managing a complete pastry program and staff, collaborating with catering and wedding clients, and creating menus utilizing seasonal ingredients from the area’s local farms.
Vespie is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando, Florida with an Associate Degree in Applied Science from their Patisserie and Baking Program. She has competed in various pastry and decorating competitions, receiving multiple first and second place awards for wedding cake decorating and assorted chocolate confections. In 2020, Vespie competed against 9 other chefs in the Halloween Baking Championship on the Food Network and took home the top prize.