Michele L – Los Angeles
|Photo by Kara Frans|
Let this be a lesson to all of you. Michele showed up at our interview with two boxes of noodle kugel —one savory, one sweet. Can I be bought off? Apparently. The noodle kugel’s her own product—well, actually it’s made from her Aunt Nonie’s recipe, which Michele packaged and is selling under the name Kugel Co. “My vision is to introduce kugel to the world.” She wants non-Jewish kids to ask for kugel for dinner. “Kids freaking love noodles.” The product’s still not up to the “gourmet kugel standards” she wants, so she’s working with a chef from Le Cordon Bleu to help refine it. I ate one the next day for lunch—it’s not my mother’s kugel, but it’s pretty good.
Michele’s a resourceful gal. At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst “I was on work-study the whole time.” She worked in the international programs office. “I was sending all the kids over to Italy and Spain, and I couldn’t afford to go. But through the office, I realized you could get a work permit. So I flew to London and got a job for the summer as a sophomore. It was so good that when I graduated I went back and worked for six months. I brought my girlfriend over, and we went back and traveled around Spain and Morocco.” She moved to San Francisco with a friend, simply because the friend was dating a guy there. She slept in a sleeping bag for three weeks, living in a house full of guys who were rarely flushing the toilet due to a drought. “But I was 22—it was great.” She found a job with a dot-com start-up called DigitalThink. “We went public and the whole bit, so that was real exciting. I bought myself a house in San Francisco, and I bought my mom a home in Charlotte. I was instrumental in helping them open a Schwab learning center to teach would-be investors how to invest. It was all online. Then I took a year off—I was kind of burnt-out—and tried to figure out what I wanted to do.”
She traveled, settled for a bit—lived with a guy for three years though it fizzled out when she realized he didn’t want to get married or have kids—and then she panicked. She was 39 and didn’t want to move back to her place in San Francisco. She thought of her family in L.A. Her cousin is the host of “Antiques Roadshow.” Another cousin does stunts. Another’s an actor. So she moved. She had a couple of good jobs—one at Google, where she sold SEO/PPC services. And then another that required a lot of traveling. “I was traveling once a week. It was just a lot. Plus trying to get my business off the ground. Plus trying to stay in shape. Plus trying to have a social life.” So she made Kugel Co. a full time job. In her spare time she rescues and rehabilitates cats and dogs. But she’s still looking for a man.
“I find a man attractive when he has his s— together. He needs to be successful and confident, yet kind and respectful. He also needs to take care of himself. He should be fit. Not have one of these guts that hangs out over your pants. That’s not going to work for me. I wouldn’t do well with someone who’s too religious, because I’m kind of borderline atheist. I debate the existence of God. I’m pretty liberal when it comes to social issues. And way conservative when it comes to Israel. I’m not for land for peace. And of course they must like dogs and cats or otherwise we’ll have a problem.”
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