Mary Swortwood of The Green Dog Café comes by her love of healthy food through family. Her Hungarian father and farm-raised Irish mother were always “into” fresh foods.
They utilized them in the family’s day-to-day meals. Her grandmother baked, her mother did all of the family’s canning, and from a very young age, Swortwood spent a lot of time in the kitchen.
Decades before the terms “farm-to-table” and “nose-to-tail” became de rigueur, they were common ways of eating in the Swortwood home. At the age of 10, Swortwood knew she wanted to be a chef, and when she turned 14, she began to work in various restaurant kitchens.
Swortwood’s father believed that a single woman would have a difficult time making a living as a chef so he persuaded her to attend college in Bowling Green in the field of nutrition. However, her passion to be in the kitchen never faded, and at the age of 21, she had the opportunity to intern at the elite Greenbrier Resort, located in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Making the move to the famed classical kitchen proved to be incredibly eye-opening. “We were trained in such an old-school manner, rotating from station to station. The hierarchy is amazing, right down to the staff dining at the chef’s table, arranged in pecking order. As apprentices, we were seen and not heard. Young chefs today never see any of this,” says Swortwood.
She found that during the two-year experience, it was very difficult to prove yourself as a woman. “Being trained classically is tough, but worth it. And it’s always been with me, even though I now run a small establishment.”
Greenbrier’s rigorous training program paid off for Swortwood and her restaurant partner, Mark Swortwood. They’ve been very successful in Cincinnati, owning such favorites as Tinks, The Brown Dog Café, and, now, Green Dog. “We’ve owned restaurants in the area long enough to know what people want, from what they like to eat [to] how much information they want about their food,” she says.
And today’s consumer appreciates The Green Dog Cafe’s fresh menu along with their small carbon footprint and their vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and mostly organic offerings.
Ruby Red Grapefruit & Pomegranate Salad
- 1 pomegranate, seeds and white pith removed (can sub dried cranberries)
- 5 cups mixed salad greens, clean and dried
- 1 Ruby Red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
- 4 medium Blood or Navel Oranges, peeled and sectioned
- 2 large ripe mangos, peeled with pit removed
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. lightly toasted pine nuts
- 1½ tsp. orange zest
- 2 Tbsp. orange juice
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- ½ tsp. chopped shallot
- ½ tsp. Dijon style mustard
- dash allspice
- salt and pepper to taste
STEP 1: Place the pulp of the mangos in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Add remaining dressing ingredients up until allspice. Blend until smooth. Add salt, pepper, and allspice to taste.
STEP 2: In a large bowl, toss salad greens with ½ cup of the prepared dressing until coated.
STEP 3: To serve, divide the greens on six chilled salad plates. Arrange the grapefruit and orange sections on top of the greens. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately. Store the remaining dressing in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.