Carol Seminara, along with her husband Joe Houde, is owner and innkeeper of the Cottages at Limestone on Main Bed and Breakfast in the Texas Hill Country at Fredericksburg. (www.cottagesatlimestone.com)
In the time-honored manner of a traditional B&B, guests at the Cottages are treated to a four-course, made from scratch, gourmet breakfast. Fresh, local products are emphasized and the menus change to incorporate seasonal offerings.
A certified Hill Country Master Gardener, Carol organically grows many of the herbs and some of the vegetables she and Joe use in their dishes. Carol began cooking when she was a little girl. Not all of her early attempts were successful. In particular, she remembers her parents and siblings patiently enduring her summer-long fascination with aspic.
As an adult, she studied culinary techniques and entertained extensively and often, preparing intricate hors d’oeuvers and baking elaborate cakes for her friends and colleagues.
She honed her culinary craft in California working as a free-lance home economist and food stylist for motion pictures and TV ads. Some of the commercial clients included Stuart Anderson’s restaurants, Universal Studios, Dairy Council of California, General Mills, and Kraft Foods products. Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is the most recent film Carol worked on, baking and shipping dozens of specially designed, hand-decorated gingerbread cookies to the studio in Hollywood.
In addition to her day job as manager of production for The Walt Disney Company, Carol shared her culinary skills in her popular series of classes Cooiking With Carol, held in her students’ own kitchens. The premise behind Cooking with Carol was that anyone can prepare dishes in a fully equipped cooking school, but what really counts is being able to function well in your own kitchen environment.
After more than 20 years working in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, Carol and Joe returned to their home state in 2004. They signed the papers for the Cottages on a Wednesday and the very next day they hosted their first b&b guests. Breakfast was served at 8:45 a.m.
Her latest food styling gig was for the publication of Breakfast on a Silver Tray, a collection of requested recipes from the Cottages at Limestone. In May 2008, she and Joe launched Fredericksburg Culinary Arts, featuring cooking classes devoted to teaching others the skills needed to prepare delicious meals using fresh ingredients. Accessible gourmet is their culinary point-of-view.