who we are

kateleeder_webKATE LEEDER

While attending Wake Forest University, Kate’s passion for food began by watching “Great Chefs, Great Cities” instead of going to class her first year of college. Working her way up the kitchen ranks, first apprenticing in a classic French restaurant in St. Louis, the jewel of her restaurant career was being a Sous Chef at the now Michelin-Starred NAHA in Chicago. Following her love of cheese and specialty foods, she became a cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market.

Moving to Grand Rapids in late 2006 with her wildly charming husband, Kate brought her love of big city life, and by getting a job at Art of the Table, she ensured all of her cheese and specialty food needs would be met and exceeded!

Kate’s favorite cheeses are Vacherin Mont d’Or, Burrata heavily drizzled with Olive Oil and sprinkled with sea salt, Ossau Iraty, La Tur, Harbison, Chällerhocker, Chabichou de Poitou, hand ladled Ricotta drizzled with honey on grilled bread. And if that isn’t enough, other favorites include St Maure, Coulommiers, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Parmigano Reggiano, Valdeon, Aged Gouda, Berkshire Blue, Époisses…..

JDQ_amyruis_web
AMY RUIS

Amy took her first serious interest in food at a young age when her dad fed her an anchovy. Blue cheese followed soon after, and then sardines. The rest is history. Amy will eat almost anything (except cooked peas that are NOT in a pod – it’s a texture issue).

Somewhere along the way, Amy also caught the retail bug. She has enjoyed the presentation of food and drink from the early age of eight when she sold lemonade and cowboy cookies at the curb. Art of the Table has been a perfect vocation for Amy for 12 years already! Amy’s love for decorating, entertaining and enjoying great food & drink lends perfectly to varied & quality selections for the store.

Because Amy loves to work hard, sleep little and enjoy people, food & drink, she has happily teamed up with business partner, Kate Leeder, to open Aperitivo. With limited space in each place, they hope that together the stores should complement one another as they feed Grand Rapids their favorite things.

Amy’s favorite things (lately) revolve around wines from the Pacific Northwest and Spain, cheeses from any animal ~ but especially goats as well as double cream style cheeses slathered on a fruit & nut style cracker or a warm hunk of sourdough bread. Yet if she had to pick one food to eat for the rest of her life, it would be a close contest between steak and ice cream…