David 'Spike' Gjerde turned his passion for...

David 'Spike' Gjerde turned his passion for cooking into a 0) joint restaurant venture

Scoff if you like, but David "Spike" Gjerde plans to do what no one else has: transform 1225 Cathedral St. into a thriving restaurant.


Sure, other bars and restaurants at the spot -- including Ethel's Place -- have gone by the wayside. That doesn't deter the former Center Club chef.

"I guess I have an individualist's streak in me," says Mr. Gjerde, 29.


So a week ago, he and his brother opened Spike & Charlie's Restaurant & Wine Bar. The funky decor -- local papier-mache art, steel mesh candleholders and Villeroy & Boch dinnerware -- is all a foil for Mr. Gjerde's real passion: New American cuisine.

The love affair began in a "counterculture bakery" in Vermont while he was attending Middlebury College. After receiving his philosophy degree, Mr. Gjerde returned to Baltimore and worked at Patisserie Poupon and Cafe des Artistes.

"I came into the jobs because I liked to cook. I never planned to make a career out of it," says Mr. Gjerde, who lives in Charles Village.

Now it's become more than a career; it's his life. Spending 15-hour workdays making buckwheat pasta, baking bread and mulling over future entertainment has brought no regrets so far.

"That's part of the fun of it," he says, "making it up as you go along."

5/8 No wonder Nataska Hasan became a storyteller. The Bolton Hill mother of four has plenty of real-life tales to tell.

Exciting, funny and sad stories of opening for Sammy Davis Jr., performing with Lionel Hampton and raising a child with Down's syndrome.

Today at 5 she'll share those stories and songs at a Women's Housing Coalition benefit at Morgan State University.


"What I want people to do is come back to ourselves. It's not our clothes, our cars, our $50,000- or $60,000-a- year jobs. I'd like people to be able to be released from those things and just enjoy the life that God has given us," says Ms. Hasan, 42.

At times she admits to suffering from a professional identity crisis of sorts, since she considers herself a griot, jazz singer, fiber artist and poet.

She chalks up her interest in performing to one thing, though: her religious upbringing. "What you learn in a Southern Baptist Church is how to take songs and make them live," she says.