Stephanie Eakins' culinary capering has led to many family-pleasing recipes, the opening of her own store and now instant popularity.

Stephanie Eakins' culinary capering has led to many family-pleasing recipes, the opening of her own store and now instant popularity.

ThisWeek's first Cook on, Columbus winner submitted a recipe for hot and spicy wings - an appropriate dish for the fall sports season. For her contribution, she received three Sandra Lee cookbooks and gets her recipe published on the Food & Wine page (see www.ThisWeekNews.com).

She said she developed the recipe while visiting with her sisters in January. One liked spicy, the other liked sweet. So, to accommodate them, she mixed diced jalapenos with honey barbecue sauce, as well as many other ingredients.

The recipe was introduced during the national championship football game between Ohio State and LSU.

The Buckeyes lost, but the wings were a clear winner.

Her culinary skills were borne of necessity and a natural curiosity.

Growing up, her parents both were epicureans, experimenting in the kitchen, often with delicious results. Now, she has to feed to finicky teenage daughters and a picky husband.

So how good is her food?

Husband Marvin Eakins, who stands 6 feet, 8 inches tall, likes to tell people he was 215 pounds when he met his wife 18 years ago. Her mini meat loaves, stir fry and sumptuous chicken wings, to name a few, have pushed him in the neighborhood of 300 pounds.

"She's a very good cook," he said. "She tries new meals all the time. Some I really, really like."

She said her background has prepared her for her next gastronomic adventure as the owner of the Wooden Spoon Cooking Co., a gourmet-to-go shop that opens Saturday, Sept. 27, at 4086 Broadway St.,
Grove City.

"My focus is comfort food," said Eakins, a 1990 graduate of DeSales High School.

Her menu will have 12 to 14 meals daily, with the bill of fare changing each month. Sides and desserts also will be available.

The Wooden Spoon takes over a 2,000-square-foot storefront that formerly housed two tea shops - Miss Mollie's and Sanctuary.

A few of her signature dishes include jumbo pastas shells stuffed with meat and cheese and covered in tomato sauce, white chicken chili served with cornbread, baby back ribs and a French dip sandwich.

Keeping with the season, she will have a tailgating package that features soup, chili, wings and potato skins.

Entre portions will run from family size, serving roughly six, to half orders, serving two to three. All foods will be easy to prepare at home, she said. The average price range for a family-size meal is $20 to 25 - "cheaper than taking the family out to dinner, competitive with fast food pricing and much healthier," she said.

People must call, fax or e-mail their orders ahead of time. Her long-range goal is to expand her offerings to include daily fresh selections available for take out.

Cooking classes, do-it-yourself catering services and children's birthday parties will be offered at the store. No alcohol will be offered in the beginning, but Eakins hopes to get a wine license.

The Wooden Spoon will be open daily. For more information, call 614-991-0048.

The Wine Guy Wine Shop has popped the cork on a second location.

The new store, a follow-up to the original one in Pickerington, has just opened in the Creekside development in Gahanna.

Owner Craig Decker said the new spot seats 105 with a 24-seat patio, which has yet to be installed. The Wine Guy Wine Shop has an abundance of small plates - blackened scallops, lollipop lamb chops and grilled shoulder steak - and a 2,500-label selection of wine. Most entrees are priced in the $10 range. Soups, salads and starters also are available.

Kitchen hours at the Gahanna store follow those of the Pickerington location - dinner only Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 614-536-0411.

Yet another store is under construction at the corner of Rings Road and Emerald Parkway near the Mall at Tuttle Crossing. At 3,500 square feet, it will be the largest store to date. Decker said he hopes to have it ready by Thanksgiving weekend.