Her business, cooking skills still evolving A Drink with ... Alexa Corcoran


October 01, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

Alexa Corcoran, 33, is a partner in the Let's Dish! chain of meal-making stores with her husband Rick, and another married couple, Erick Ginsberg and Lisa Hardiman. The four created their first store in November 2004 in Timonium. They prepare the recipes and all the ingredients for homemade dishes, then customers come in and assemble the dishes themselves to take home. There are now nine stores in the region, with plans for more. Corcoran lives in Roland Park with her husband and daughters Maeve, 4, and Charlotte, 2. Have you always been a big cook?

No! That's my big secret. I'm a terrible cook. My partners know that. They use me to test and idiot-proof the recipes. I do all the marketing, public relations and technology. My partner, Lisa - I called her once because I didn't know what the term stir-fry meant. So, even though you've been in this business for a couple of years, you haven't learned how to cook better?

I know a lot more about food now. But Lisa does the recipe development. I rely on my own store. [My family] couldn't survive with my job, Rick's job, and two kids without that store. Since you and your husband work together, is it hard for you two to get "away" from work? We work tremendously well together as a team because we each have our own innate skills and we trust each other implicitly. But, because we work for ourselves and with each other, it's incredibly flexible. We can be at nursery school pageants and visiting with friends and relatives when we need to. Working that closely with another couple is almost like another marriage, isn't it?

It really is. The four of us didn't know each other before the business. We just feel extremely fortunate we met someone we clicked with so well. We have a room in our office for all the kids. [Lisa and Erik] have three - a 4-year-old, a 7-year-old and a 12-year old. So, what do you like to do outside of work?

I know it sounds boring, but I like hanging out with our kids. They're at that age where their imagination is just exploding. We made an art room in our house. And I sit with them at this little Ikea table and we paint and stamp and sticker. We're big into glitter these days ... I don't believe in over-programming kids. I'd rather they just be with us and be with each other. And just be kids. So, we all do the park or the zoo. We've used our zoo membership beyond belief. Both girls learned to walk there. ... We're such a girly household. We had a princess party, and my husband actually put on his tux and met the girls at the door with their tiara on a pillow. It was wonderful. When you do take time for yourself, what do you do?

I'm a pop-culture junkie. I even went to the Oscars one year. I read the magazines. I probably get every major pop culture magazine and fashion magazine. That's how I decompress. Any particular tabloid scandal you're fond of these days?

No, but I'm a bit dismayed with everyone's fascination with pregnant [stars] these days. It's everywhere. It's like an obsession. I find it so interesting that people look for heroes in pop culture and escapism. And I'm probably guilty of that sometimes, too. That's why I love what I do. Because it brings you back, to connect with other people.



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