Schneiderwent on to earn an undergraduate degree in German and secondary education from St. Louis University, but it was in her master’s program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison that she learned about Concordia Language Villages.“I applied for a teaching position but it was too late for the season so I went there as a cook in 1992 for the French and German villages,”Schneidersaid. “I worked there during the summer until 1998 and then stayedthere full time until my business partner and I bought the old Uptown Café and revamped it to the Wild Hare Bistro and Coffee House.” At Concordia Language Villages, people visited for various functions andSchneidersaid many told her to open a place in town.
She and co-owner Reed Olson knew and worked with each other for about 10 years before starting the business.
Schneider'shusband, Norwood Hall, used to make beautiful designs on the top of the lattes at the Wild Hare. People would comment that they were too pretty to spoil and that was probably when Hall got the idea for a photo exhibit bySchneiderfor a First Friday exhibit installation about six years ago.
“I picked up the camera again and found that I liked to shoot,”Schneidersaid recently. “I like getting close to something and looking at it in a different way. Cooking for us at home, I realized that my culinary journeys take me directly along the spice route – North African, Middle-Eastern, Indian andThai are my go-to flavors.”
When they go back to St. Louis,Schneiderand her husband like to browse the different stalls at the Global Foods Market in Kirkwood, Mo.
“Each aisle tells the story of a culture, and there are many, many cultures represented in this culinary mecca of mine,” wroteSchneiderin one of herartist’s statements.
In a different show bySchneider,“Edible Mandala,” she used the circular design of the Sanskrit word “mandala” – meaning circle – to explore the joy she and her staff share when preparing a plate for the customer.
AsSchneiderwrote in her artist’s statement for theshow, “We attempt to take the multi-dimensional experience of food and pluck out some of the dazzling visual aspects that inspire us and present them for your viewing pleasure.”
As anyone who likes to cook knows, there are moments when the ingredients are colorful, have intricate lines and create patterns of their own.Schneider’sphotos range from the complex mandala of a clove or a drop of paprika to the simple garlic bulb.
She also likes the juxtaposition of the permanence of a photo and the lack of permanence in food art. When you start to eat food art, it isdestroyed only to be repeated again in a different pattern in another place and time.
“Is it a coincidence that my mind is most open to new ideas within this chosen artistic realm of mine?”Schneiderpondered. “I like to think it’s not so much an accident as a deliberate, successful choice.”