Marilyn Harris, Cincinnati's Own Martha Stewart
Chuck Martin of the Cincinnati Enquirer, on local radio host Marilyn Harris, his city's own Martha Stewart:
"Several years ago at a conference in San Francisco, someone at the dinner table had the gall to ask Marilyn Harris what she did for living. Before she could answer, a friend piped up:
"Marilyn's in charge of food in Cincinnati."
Everyone laughed, but it is pretty much an accurate job description. Restaurant critics, food writers and trendy chefs come and go, but no one wields as much power on the local food scene as the host of the weekly radio program, "Cooking with Marilyn," 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday on WKRC-AM (550). This year, Harris marks her 20th year behind the microphone, serving cooking tips, recipes and restaurant recommendations."
The Mississippi-born former teen beauty queen and high school valedictorian learned to cook at Le Cordon Bleu, moved to Cincinnati for her husband's teaching job, and got her big break when a secretary at the radio station who'd taken one of her cooking classes at a market recommended her to replace the outgoing cooking show host: "She auditioned live, without cookbooks or other references as backup. 'I told them that you can't look anything up live on the radio,' she says. 'I said that day, you either have to know it, or you have to say you don't know it.'"
Harris still does her show live and out on location, writes a newspaper column and has published four cookbooks.