Local Food Blogger Ereka Vetrini Debuts Line of Aprons

Inspired by her Italian heritage, television host Ereka Vetrini’s fondest memories revolve around food. She happily “watched, smelled and tasted everything” in the kitchen while her mother, grandmother and aunts were busy making homemade pasta and jarring tomatoes.

 “I remember eating squid with pasta at the age of six, the mildly offensive smell of broccoli rabe with garlic cooking on the stove-top and the taste of my mother’s sauce, which I still can’t seem to replicate,” says Vetrini. “Everything was homemade, nothing came out of a can.”

Both of her parents were born and raised in Italy. After coming to America, they opened Gino’s Pizzeria and Restaurant in Bronxville, New York. “When they came to this country, they tried to assimilate,” she explains. “But the Italian food traditions stuck and were cherished.” Vetrini worked at the restaurant in high school, and her brother still owns and operates it today.

Vetrini’s Salad Nicoise is a crowd-pleaser and a great dish for holiday gatherings year-round.

As a food blogger, on-air personality and mother of two living in Darien, Vetrini shares recipes like the ones she enjoyed growing up—with a modern twist. She calls her cooking “short-form Italian,” because it allows for time-saving ingredients and methods.

With nearly two million followers on TikTok and Instagram, Vetrini’s loyal fans can’t get enough of her Italian recipes and helpful tips. Her one-pan salmon and orzo dish had 9.6 million views alone.

Her lemon olive oil cake is a light, elegant treat.

“When creating recipes, my goal is to use the Italian food philosophy to develop simple recipes for busy parents,” says Vetrini. “I have no problem using canned beans in my escarole and beans, even though I know my mother quietly disapproves.”

This one-pan baked chicken parmesan is perfect for a weeknight meal.

 One savvy viewer asked why she didn’t wear an apron for cooking segments, and Vetrini thoughtfully considered the question.

“I couldn’t find a single apron that I found stylish and functional,” remembers Vetrini. “The traditional apron doesn’t jibe with how I feel when I’m cooking for my community, friends or family. The light bulb when on and I started to get to work.”

 Vetrini responded to the fashion challenge by creating a line of contemporary aprons. The collection of Monarch wrap aprons, which come in five colors, are now available online at byereka.com.

“My goal was to create an apron that was not just stylish, but also comfortable, functional and could be adjusted to fit everyone’s unique body shape,” says Vetrini. “In my mind, a wrap apron of some type seemed to be the obvious answer. I also wanted more coverage up top, which is why I went with a halter neckline.”

The entrepreneurial route was a natural one for Vetrini. After graduating from Boston College (where she often cooked for roommates), she worked at General Electric Financial Service Company before moving on to Estée Lauder and product marketing at Clinique. That’s when she did “something crazy and very out of character,” leading her career in a different direction.

“I auditioned for a new reality competition called The Apprentice, and I was asked to be a contestant,” says Vetrini. “After I was eliminated, technically ‘fired’ by Donald Trump, there were multiple opportunities in television. I was lucky enough to be hired to host a long-running HGTV show as well as a national talk show called In The Loop with I-Village.”

Vetrini first shared recipes on TikTok during the pandemic. It took some persuading from her daughter, but the platform suited her well. Her inaugural recipe for homemade ricotta gnudi and pesto garnered more than six million views.

Vetrini continues to focus on her apron line, with plans to expand the collection and introduce more kitchen items. A cookbook and updated website are also in the works.

No matter what Vetrini does next, it is sure to have her signature blend of “sometimes sweet and sometimes savory.”

Vetrini’s aprons can be purchased by visiting byereka.com. Use code Spring10 to get 10% off between now and March 31.

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