Tastemakers 2021: Deborah Quinci, Co-Founder of Quinci Emporium

Beth Stallings
Deborah Quinci, co-founder of Quinci Emporium

For Sicily native Deborah Quinci, sharing food is the most Italian thing she could possibly do. Since opening her cookware-store-turned-cooking-school-turned-market with business partner Connie Klema, that’s exactly what she’s done at Quinci Emporium. The pair are keeping the tradition of chef-owned businesses alive in the Short North, while also offering a haven for authentic Italian cooking in the city. Albeit a purist one—order an espresso to go and someone just might ask you where you need to be in such a hurry.

“My idea was always to have a place where people could really understand Italian culture,” Quinci says. “There was no need to [water] it down. Then it became this thing that I almost couldn’t control.”

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An Emporium Evolving

The location fell into Quinci’s lap when the former Freedom a la Cart chef innocently asked the owner of the previous cookware store if she was looking to sell. Within a few days, Quinci had herself a storefront. The market has been an evolution, starting with cookware and expanding to coffee, grab-and-go pizza, bread and cookies. They added a curated selection of wine and intimate cooking classes that now sell out in under an hour. “It’s not just a cooking class, but an experience,” Quinci says.

Classes will remain a large part of Quinci Emporium moving forward, focusing on dishes that are not necessarily well-known here, such as tortellini en brodo and ricotta gnudi. “The classes are really what I will concentrate on,” Quinci says. “There’s just so much joy in that—in really sharing food and culture.”

Find more of Columbus' Rising Culinary Stars:Tastemakers Class of 2021

Quinci Emporium

688 N. High St., Short North

Speed Round

Age: 53

Hometown: Palermo, Italy

What’s something you are excited about right now? “The revolution that is happening in Ohio around food”

What does Columbus need? “More independent restaurants and fewer bars. It’s not a judgement. It would be nice to see more independent, chef-run restaurants.”

Reading recommendations: “Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters,” by Dominique Crenn and “The Chef’s Garden,” by Farmer Lee Jones

This story is from the December 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly.