Maria (Maja) Springer
A Little Family History………..
I was born in Belisce, Croatia, an industrial then small city, where the Gutmann Werke thrived. The Barons Gutmann, two brothers, owned a transportation/railroad, and lumber company.
They built the railroad to transport lumber down the mountains to Belisce where it was processed into building material and paper. My father was a young executive with the transportation company and my mother’s father was an executive with the lumber company. My parents met at the many social gatherings that the Barons Gutmann held for their employees.
My life and how I became a cooking teacher!
On both sides of my family I have inherited the cooking and baking talents. My father’s father, my grandfather, was a butcher and owned an Inn in Veliscovci, Croatia. My mother’s grandfather, my great-grandfather, was a “Fein Baecker” in Vienna (pastry baker). Both these men lived during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. My grandmother, my mother’s mother, was an excellent cook who I credit to have started me in my love for cooking. Whenever I visited her she asked me what I wanted to eat and she quickly fixed it for me. Under her supervision I cooked my first scrambled egg at age 4.
Later, during WW II we were refugees from Croatia, Yugoslavia at that time, and lived for seven years in Austrian refugee camps. My mother was an absolute whiz when it came to create edible things with very little ingredients and no recipes. Even when we came to the U.S. as immigrants in 1951 she cooked without any recipes for years. Her cookbooks all got lost during the ordeals my family went through. I wish I had them now, if for no reason but to have a link and basis for my love for cooking. I often cooked the meals after school while my mother worked as a nurse’s aid at the Shriner’s Hospital. We always entertained with what little we had and always had friends over, particularly on weekends.
After finishing college with a B.S. in Biology and Medical Technology, I worked in Hematology and Immunology Research in the U.S. as well as in Germany, at the University of Tuebingen, and Italy, at the University of Torino.
After marrying, I stopped my carrier as a “research scientist” and became a homemaker and mother. When our son started 1st grade I began volunteering at his school, and became a member of the Parents Club and was the Hospitality Chairman for five years. During that time I organized many functions which involved cooking and entertaining.
My teaching is seasonal. Spring and fall are the busy times of the year. I have taught up to 15 individual classes per season, transferring all my laboratory skills, peppered with love and passion, into my kitchen, which I call the “Cooking Tech. Lab.” During the winter and summer months I attend culinary schools for continuing education courses.
The following are the cooking schools I attended……..
The Laverne Cooking School at the Greenbrier – March 1992The
Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park – October 1992
L’Academie De Cuisine in Bethesda – July 1994
Baltimore International Culinary College – August 1994
The French Pastry School in Gaithersburg, MD – Workshop with Pastry Chef Jacqui Pfeiffer, and Sebastian Canonne, 1999
Disney Institute Culinary School Experience – January 2000
I am a participating member of……….
International Association of Culinary Professionals I attended my first conference in 1996, and attended conferences every year since then.
International Wine and Food Society
American Institute of Wine and Food, Charter Member
Baltimore Women’s Culinary Society
Professional Association of Innkeepers International/Cooking and Baking Association
Inn Sitting Association/Paii – attended Paii Conference – 2001 and 2002
I regularly attend local or area classes and seminars as they are available and if they are helpful in my work.
Teaching around and about……..
Besides teaching in my own kitchen, Maja’s Viennese Kitchen…….
I teach classes with………..
- Jerry Edwards, Chef’s Expressions, a catering company
- I give Private Classes for High School Seniors and recent college graduates as well as young professionals.
- I taught classes in Paso Robles, CA at the Cooks Loft, 2000 through 2004
- In the past teaching culinary classes has extended into the Bed and Breakfast industry where I am a consultant to Innkeepers with “tired” breakfasts. I created or re-created menus and designed plate presentations and table settings, as well as cooking lessons in B&B for guests or the innkeepers.