by Julie Gabell
This cook has a pot on every burner. Musician, teacher, author, caterer, culinary dillitante, wife and mother, Patricia Lee has let no grass grow under her feet. A multi-talented Gemini, she fits all the characteristics of her astrological sign. Because her successes range over a wide expanse of interests, she has demonstrated a remarkable knack for reinventing herself.
A single mother of three, she tapped into her musical training for survival. Drawing on her background in piano, she launched a thriving career, first as an individual instructor and later in partnership with her eldest daughter, Nicol. Though Pat and Nicol’s School of Music continued to attract students for the next 35 years, Patricia herself eventually escaped the daily routine by revisiting a former dream of becoming an entertainer. Because her family disapproved, the venture was short-lived. Only recently was she able to cut three vocal CD’s.
Back she went to the drawing board. She had always been an excellent student, so it was only natural that she should study at St. John’s University and earn her BA and MA in mathematics. Eventually, this decision led to her obtaining a twenty-three year teaching position at Pasco-Hernando Community College.
As if she did not have enough to do during this period, Patricia took another leap of faith and opened Elegance On a Budget, a bridal shop which Patricia, now turned designer, seamstress, custodian, and manager, soon found to be tense and stressful. After seven years of dealing with brides and bridal parties, she happily moved on…!
Patricia admits to being a “foodie,” has taken culinary courses, read extensively, and is addicted to TV cooking shows. When she was asked by one of her piano students to cook an Italian dinner for her son’s Bar Mitzvah, she agreed. Her efforts were so successful that the woman asked Patricia if she would fill in as a cook at the Jewish Center. She remained for the next seven years. It was there that she learned the ins and outs of providing food for large groups and found that she had a gift for organizing and pulling off dinners for special events. This realization opened the door to yet another career: catering. She currently does this on the side by invitation.
In 2014, Patricia ticked off one more item on her “bucket list”: She published her unique cooknook "Fear of Flying Cookbook" (www.fearofflyingcookbook.com). This long-standing project was born when Patricia, who is afraid to fly, decided it would be fun to travel via food to those spots inaccessible to her except by plane. The project became a family affair. As Patricia researched traditional foods for ten different countries, her husband, Glenn, a retired history teacher, wrote the story of food for the selected countries. Her son, Bart, a graphic artist, put the finishing touches on the final product. Patricia numbers this effort among her greatest achievements, a two year labor of love of which she is most proud.
Patricia’s hobbies include singing, dancing, crocheting, and tending to the couple’s three dogs. For fun she studied Tarot cards and now does private readings. “Food, music, design, and teaching--that is me in one sentence,” claims Patricia. Today, given her track record, her friends wonder what will be next. Whatever it is, Beacon Woods will be enriched by Patricia’s talent, energy, and enthusiasm.
Beacon Woods Civic Association
Maggi Kosuda, Manager
12440 Clocktower Pkwy.
Bayonet Point FL 34667
Office Hours: M-F 9-5PM
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Peggy Weiss, President
Jim Massey, Vice President
Ron Hubbs, Treasurer
Mary Moore, Secretary