I first met Anna (Fetter) Robison when she was the head chef at Pomona’s Woodfired Bakery Café (now Fidler & Co. Custom Kitchen) in Biglerville. From the beginning, her talents in the culinary arts were obvious: the restaurant was always filled with people and delicious smells – the aromas were just a teaser to the tastes that followed. It was also impressive to watch her craft beautiful and tasty dishes while managing a kitchen staff often made up of her siblings. The oldest of six, Anna grew up in Cashtown with a strong sense of family. Watching her run a kitchen, it was obvious she and her brothers and sisters hold each other in high regard and with mutual respect. She runs a tight ship, but acknowledges, “Yelling isn’t good for anyone. Respect is a two-way street.”
Anna left Pomona’s to focus on time with her family, and she approaches parenting in the same no-nonsense, fun-loving, mutually respectful way she runs a kitchen. Mom to a precocious and adorable five-year-old who also loves to cook, once a week Anna encourages her daughter Emily’s creative exploration by allowing “experimental soups” for dinner, which Emily makes and serves to the grown-ups. Anna respectfully tastes whatever is served. After all, if Emily is expected to eat what is in front of her, Anna feels it is important to offer the same respect. That said, Anna admitted with a smirk that when her daughter’s “soups” are too difficult to choke down, she and her husband might creatively distract Emily before cleaning their plates in the sink. Some day they will all laugh about this together.
Cooking adventures with her daughter have inspired many of the children’s classes Anna teaches for the Adams County Arts Council. Earlier this year, she offered a Mommy & Me Frozen-themed cooking class, inspired by the popular movie. This summer, she is excited to offer a Princess Cooking Camp, where students will be introduced to cuisines paired with the appropriate princesses, including dishes like New Orleans-style jambalaya, inspired by Tiana of The Princess and the Frog and a sea-foam smoothie and shell pasta salad, inspired by Ariel of The Little Mermaid.
In addition to her wonderful work with kids, Anna is also a culinary artist with much to offer adults. Her specialties include fresh pasta and seafood dishes. These evening classes can be a great alternative to a typical night at a restaurant – students enjoy a social evening of learning, interaction and great food. The experience offers food that is not only delicious, it’s also beautiful. Tantalizing smells fill the classroom-kitchen. The culinary arts allow students to experience food with all five senses, making it a uniquely appealing art form.
Anna is thoroughly enjoying her teaching experiences at ACAC, and she aspires to teach full-time some day. A graduate of the Gettysburg High School Tech Prep Culinary Arts program, she had all good things to say about her experience there, and would ultimately love to return as a full-time instructor. In the meantime, you can find her working at Hickory Bridge Farm, a family-style restaurant in Ortanna, and teaching all she can at ACAC.
A Taste of Anna’s Talents
Is this article making your mouth water? Come see Anna on Tuesday, March 10 at 6 pm, when she offers Pasta, Pasta, Pasta! Students will learn to make delicious pasta dough for ravioli and lasagna, as well as a collection of sauce recipes. Register here!
Anna has also graciously volunteered to coordinate the catering and food service for the ACAC’s upcoming event, Glitter and Glue: An Evening with Kelly Corrigan on March 20. This promises to be an exciting evening of good food, live music, and a wonderful presentation and book signing by NY Times best-selling author Kelly Corrigan. The event is part of Corrigan’s “Glitter and Glue for Good,” (#ggforgood) benefitting a variety of non-profits across the United States. Register here!