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The Savory 6 with Kelli Bielema

Welcome to The Savory 6 – a weekly column featuring six weekly questions for one of the guests on our show. Check, Please! NW is all about dining out, but that’s not the only thing that happens at the table. When you put three strangers together and encourage banter, anything can happen! It’s a happy by product of the show and it’s one of my favorite parts – getting to know all of these food-loving folks. In this weekly article, we get to dig a little deeper into one of our guests culinary quirks and preferences.

This week, we welcome back Kelli Bielema (beel-ema – I had a HARD time with that pronunciation on the show and had to have Kit, who runs the teleprompter, to spell it phonetically for me). Kelli is a newer vegetarian (having converted in her adult life) so it was awesome to have her viewpoint on meals. Additionally, Kelli owns and runs a stellar event planning agency, putting on amazing and festive shindigs all over the Pac NW and beyond. After the show, I poked around her website for Shindig Events and definitely made some notes for the future. So smart!

Kelli chose Madison Valley’s Café Flora, a vegetarian restaurant, as her fave. I absolutely loved having a vegetarian restaurant on the show (even though I’m a huge fan of steak, of course) and she did a great job extolling their virtues. And to be fair, both other guests, the food lover and consummate Yelp reviewer Nina Huang & the charming Giorgio Pompei, were also exceptionally well spoken and engaging about their choices. All in all, this was a GREAT group, they made GREAT recommendations and it’s a show you don’t want to miss! Set your DVRs, put a reminder on your calendar and be sure to watch.

Meet Kelli Bielema:

How often do you dine out?
More than budget allows. It's mostly out of necessity. I love to cook but just don't have the time.

Fill in the blank: It I see ________ on a menu, I HAVE to order it.

What is your signature dish - something you make well and consistently?
Veggie chili & mini fancy grilled cheese. It's an evening at my house that all of my friends request.

Do you have a morning ritual & what is it?
I have to have variety but lately I've been on a grits kick. I'll add some steamed spinach, avocado & Johnny's Seasoning Salt. Whatever it is, it's almost always savory!.

Most awesome OR annoying food trend?
Awesome = advances in meat alternatives. Beyond Meat is doing some incredible things with their products.

If you were stuck on a deserted island and only had ONE food with you, what would it be?
Justin's Maple Almond Nut Butter. I would eat it straight out of the jar or use it to make sauces with palm leaves....(shudder)


Amy Pennington is the host of Check, Please! Northwest and a well-known ingredient in Seattle’s food and restaurant scene. She’s also the author of Urban Pantry, Apartment Gardening and Apples: From Harvest to Table, and the e-book series Fresh Pantry. Read more of Amy’s work at and connect on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.