DL native pens book, discovers new love
Though he's packed a lot of accomplishments into the years since his 1998 graduation from Detroit Lakes High School, Christopher Mohs would be the first to admit that "cookbook author" was a somewhat unexpected addition to that list.
As the author biography in the back of "Great Eats! In A New York Minute Or Two" states, cooking was "a talent that would take center stage later in life."
It wasn't until Mohs left behind the corporate world that he discovered a passion for creating his own recipes.
"I never really was a big cook," Mohs said in an interview late last week, just days after the release of his first foray into culinary literature. "Back when I was working 18-hour days (as president and CEO of Fargo-based Frostfire Media), my culinary dabbling consisted of what I could pick up real quick from a restaurant on my way home...I never really had time to cook.
"After I divested from the company and moved to Minneapolis, I found I had a great deal more time on my hands."
After living in the fast-paced corporate world for so many years, Mohs was ready to embrace a more domesticated lifestyle.
"I started focusing more on home and friends and family," he said. "I had more time to cook dinners and nice desserts and entertain...so I started taking some basic recipes, from my mom's cookbook and other places, and giving them my very own spin."
Because so much of his life had been media-based, Mohs also shared some of his culinary adventures online, and continued to do so after moving to New York City a year ago with his partner, Jared, whom he acknowledges in the book as "the love of my life."
"Last fall, a contact of mine in Phoenix had seen the pictures I'd been posting on Twitter of all these recipes I'd been making... she got really excited about it and said, 'Would you write me a (recipe) book?'" he said, adding that she hoped he would have it ready to launch by Christmas 2012, which gave him about a year to put it together.
"I thought, 'a year -- that's got to be enough time to write a book,'" Mohs said. "So I dove into it full force and wrapped it up about three weeks ago."
The book "Great Eats" is already available on Amazon.com, and Mohs said, "I believe they'll have it on Kindle and iBooks soon as well. It might start popping up in stores in the next few weeks or so."
The book is published by Lostegaard Pink Publishing, which is a joint venture launched by Mohs and his friend in Phoenix, Shanna Olness. The name, Mohs said, is an amalgamation of two ancestral family names of his parents, Al and Bonnie Mohs.
"Lostegaard is an old family name on my mom's side, and Pink is my father's mother's maiden name," he said.
The book is being marketed through Create Space, a subsidiary of Amazon.
"When I got the final printed copy of the book in the mail, I was elated," he said. "It turned out so great. I'm thrilled, absolutely thrilled -- it looks fantastic."
The recipes in the book are "a fun mish mash of traditional Norwegian and German influences from my heritage, and from my travels as well," he said. "There's sushi, complex desserts, Italian dishes, a lot of really healthy, vegetarian-type things and also a comprehensive section that helps the user try to substitute some alternative, healthier ingredients.
"There's a little something for everybody," he added.
One recipe that Mohs is particularly proud of is one of the first that he created -- a pear spice cake that he describes as "very hearty, with pears and nuts and spices... it's so good!"
The book also contains some "tips and tricks" that can make even amateur cooks look like they know what they're doing in the kitchen.
"I never, ever thought in a million years I would have such enjoyment from spending so much time in the kitchen creating these culinary pieces," Mohs said. "It's really, really fun."
In fact, he enjoyed the experience so much that he's already hard at work on a sequel, which he says will include more personal anecdotes from his own life, and "the back stories behind some of the recipes."
"I'm about 15 pages in," Mohs said. "I still have a lot of work to do on it, but I'm not in any huge hurry."
Mohs is also enjoying life in the Big Apple.
"It's very, very different (from Minnesota, where Mohs has spent much of his life), but it's something I've always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to do," he said. "The opportunity to come out here, it was kind of circumstantial...my partner Jared got a job offer with a company in Chelsea, so we decided that now seemed to be the time to take the leap and just do it."
Mohs said that since moving to New York, "Things are really starting to pick up for me professionally, and being in this city, I absolutely love it."
Mohs, whose early career involved working on marketing and strategy for companies including Daimler Chrysler and Microsoft, has gone back to doing independent consulting work, "doing small independent projects here and there. That's what I love... helping people build strategies to grow their mission and business and figure out what they want to do. That's a big passion of mine."
Mohs also has a passion for social activism, which has found new outlets as well -- particularly an online venture known as BlindLeadBlind (blindleadblind.com), described as "part of a new movement of socially responsible enterprises that seeks to make an impact on a variety of social issues" through the marketing of products that incorporate Braille (language of the blind) into their designs. Fifty percent of the profits from sales are donated directly to causes that this nonprofit supports, from marriage equality to ending world hunger.
"Nonprofits are such a wonderful instrument to get things accomplished," Mohs said. "To be able to create an entity to grow awareness and financial support for these issues is an amazing thing to be a part of...along with all the other things I tend to dive into, it's nice to be able to partake in that side of things a little bit too."
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.