Perhaps it was her father’s Top Ramen Surprise that compelled Marjorie Meek-Bradley to become a chef. Dad’s creation–a stir-fry made with noodles, leftover meat and vegetables, an egg, and the contents of the ramen seasoning packet–is one of the Graffiato chef de cuisine’s favorite food memories.
Born and raised in Ukiah, California, Meek-Bradley has lived in New York, Sweden and Napa, and now calls Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood home. At Graffiato, she works with longtime friend (and former Top Chef hopeful) Mike Isabella, whom she met when they were both cooking at Marcus Samuelsson‘s Washington Square restaurant in Philadelphia.
To make her peach sponge cake, Meek-Bradley uses room-temperature egg whites, which beat up lighter and fluffier than their cold counterparts. She bakes the cake in an ungreased pan; the batter clings to the pan’s sides and rises higher. You can top the cake with any juicy fruit, but in summer Meek-Bradley favors peaches, which she roasts briefly to concentrate their flavor. She cuts the crust off the top of the cake so the fruits’ juices can penetrate into the sponge.
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