The Dinner Belles are Michelle McIntyre, a longtime Lovettsville caterer, and Jill Evans-Kavaldjian, Loudoun artist and entrepreneur. We aim to bring delicious food and drink to every table and picnic blanket in Lovettsville.
Michelle grew up around food. Her earliest memories all involve food at her grandmother’s house in Ohio. Chicken and dumplings, to be exact. Growing up as an Air Force Officer’s daughter, she was exposed to cuisine from across the globe... and soaked it all up. Her mother’s involvement with the Officers’ Wives Club inspired a love for entertaining, and it taught her to be comfortable cooking for crowds under tight deadlines. Michelle started her own family in the late ‘80’s, right when Martha Stewart was making elegant home-cooking cool, and she was inspired to give her family the very best. In the ‘90’s, Michelle moved on to the world of PBS cooking shows and was inspired by Lydia Bastianich to cherish the importance of the family meal. In the ‘00’s, Michelle started to think it would be fun to open a restaurant some day; she devoured the autobiographies of Jacques Pepin and Anthony Bourdain and was quickly disabused of the notion that it would be fun. But she was inspired by their passion and her love of cooking only grew. In the ‘10’s she launched The Dinner Belle Catering. It has been a labor of love, and it has often even been fun. She is still trying to replicate Rasheeda’s chicken and dumplings.
Like many visual artists, Jill started working in food service in her early twenties, with experience in both the front and back of the house at many different restaurants, from a hole-in-the-wall Richmond barbeque joint to a French fine-dining establishment in Charlottesville. A lifelong gardener, Jill has also worked at nearby Potomac Vegetable Farms for almost two decades, getting to know the other side of the food chain from northern Virginia's sustainable agriculture icons. You may well have met her at the PVF farmstand in Wheatland. An active member of the Loudoun arts community, you may also have met Jill in her artist's studio during the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour in June, or the Catoctin Holiday Art Tour in November.
Jill and Michelle's common interest in good food has led them to raid each other's pantries regularly over the years. The Kitchen Cupboard is a recreation of that experience, now open to the public. The idea is to stock those special items that make an excellent meal possible without a 40 minute drive. As part of that experience, Jill is working to build an intriguing list of wines, beer, and cider to coordinate with impromptu picnics, family dinners, and celebrations.