In 1969, I began teaching cooking classes in my Los Angeles’ home to raise money for my children’s elementary school. The success of these classes led to my opening a professional cooking school and cookware shop in the San Fernando Valley called Marlene Sorosky’s Cooking Center. From 1978 to 1982, I taught 8 to 10 classes a week in my school, and also assisted such notables as Julia Child, James Beard and Jacques Pepin in live demonstrations and on television. For many years I traveled across the country giving cooking demonstrations and lectures to groups ranging in size from one hundred to two thousand. My fun-filled classes provide creative recipes that are easy to duplicate at home using readily available ingredients and materials.
I have written eight cookbooks, which have sold over one million copies. In 1985, my Dessert Lover’s Cookbook. (Harper & Row) won the IACP/Seagram’s award for best cookbook in the dessert category. In 1995, Entertaining On The Run: Easy Menus for Faster Lives, (William Morrow) won the James Beard award for the best book in the entertaining category. In 1994, two of my top sellers, Cooking for Entertaining,(HP Books, 1975) and Year ‘Round Holiday Cookbook (Harper & Row, 1982) were updated and revised. In 1997, Chronicle Books published a revised edition of mySeason’s Greetings: Cooking & Entertaining for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Also in 1997, William Morrow published my Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays, which was nominated for a James Beard award.
I am an accomplished food stylist and prepare and design all the food for the photographs in my books, newspaper articles and television appearances.
Currently, I am a contributing writer for the San Francisco Chronicle’s food pages. My articles and recipes have appeared in many national magazines including Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal and Good Housekeeping. From 1987 to 1994, I wrote a syndicated newspaper column, “Easy Entertaining,” that reached over four million readers. From 1990 to 1997, I was a contributing editor to Master Choicemagazine, distributed bimonthly in the New York Times. From 1996 to 2000, I wrote a monthly column entitled, “Ask Marlene” for Safeway supermarket’s Select magazine, published by Sunset Publishing. I have also assisted several chefs in writing their recipes and cookbooks.
Actor Danny Kaye has some fun with Marlene on a cookbook photo shoot.
For several years, I was a regular guest on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” serving as a food and entertaining expert, as well as a correspondent. I have also made many appearances on Lifetime cable network’s “Our Home” and the Television Food Network. From 1988 to 1991, I appeared biweekly on The Nashville Network (TNN) program, “American Magazine.” From 1985 to 1987, I hosted a two hour weekly radio program called “Let’s Talk Food,” on KABC, Southern California’s largest talk radio station. In 1998 and 1999, I hosted two one hour holiday specials for PBS TV.
In 900 square feet of retail space, Marlene Sorosky’s Cooking Center became Southern California’s largest distributor of Calphalon cookware, Cuisinart food processors and Spanek vertical roasters. I attribute this success to my hands-on knowledge of the products and enthusiastic and soft-sell teaching approach. In 1997, I was responsible for designing, implementing and pricing the holiday gift baskets for Safeway Companies 1,800 stores.
From 1995 to 2014 I was the culinary advisor for Safeway Companies’ 1800 stores. I developed all of the recipes for the back of their private label packages and ads, as well as assisted them in developing new products. In the past I have served as a spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, Beatrice Foods, Kraft/General Foods, CPC International, Bigelow Tea, Hallmark Cards, McCormick & Company, Canandaigua, as well as serving on several fruit and meat advisory boards. In this capacity I have conducted media tours, created marketing plans, developed recipes, and hosted cooking segments on television and in videos.
Part of my work with Safeway Companies was to bring in new products and work with vendors to fine-tune their products. I also was responsible for creating the recipes for all Safeway Companies’ product packaging and developing recipes for their ads. In 1993, I developed the recipes for Curtice-Burns’ highly successful program, “Quick and Easy Entrees” and “Quick and Easy Desserts.” From 1988 to 1991, I was a consultant for Procter & Gamble, working with their home economists in developing recipes for Crisco oil and shortening. In 1985, I developed all the recipes for Dessert of the Month Club, which James Beard dubbed “The best cakes I’ve ever tasted.” I have also worked on product development for Entenmann’s Boboli pizza shell, McCormick/Schilling spices, Baking with Bigelow Tea and Mueller’s Noodles. In 2011, I developed 28 recipes for Earthbound Farms new line of frozen vegetables and fruits.
My successful professional interaction with a wide variety of people sparked my interest in the Direct Selling (home party) business. From 1997 to 1999, I worked with AMC, a Swiss company manufacturing high-end cookware. As part of their executive board, I helped launch Home Culinarian, the US arm of the company. In that capacity, I set standards, developed party strategy and recipes, designed and wrote brochures and recruited employees.
Planning special events including corporate functions, weddings and private parties is a natural extension of my cooking and entertaining expertise. My goal is to give each event a personal, creative touch by working with caterers, florists, rental companies, etc. to ensure that the finished product is unique and memorable. In 1996, I produced and hosted three party videos for Hallmark Cards and 2 bridal shower segments for “Good Morning America.”
I am a founding member and past Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Currently I am a member of Bakers Dozen and The San Francisco Professional Food Society. I have also been active in the American Institute of Wine and Food, The James Beard Foundation, Les Dames d’Escoffier and Home Economists in Business.
For the past ten years I have been actively involved with CHEFS, Conquering Homelessness in Employment in Food Service in San Francisco, part of Episcopal Community Services. For the past four years I chaired their annual fundraiser with 400 attendees, as well as chairing their live and silent auctions.
I grew up in Beverly Hills, California, and from 1958 to 1961, attended UCLA. My final college semester was interrupted when my physician husband was drafted and stationed in Southern France for two years. It was in France that I became enamored with cooking and attended various professional culinary classes and workshops. I honed my skills by entertaining the officers and their wives and earned the reputation as the best hostess on the base. I attribute my light-hearted, uncomplicated approach to cooking and entertaining to the thousands of meals I’ve prepared for my 4 children and 5 grandchildren. In 2006, I moved to Foster City, California, where I happily reside and continue to interact with many colleagues in the food world.