TDS 8: Claudia Schabel: Always Serve Diversity

Claudia Schabel of Schabel Solutions

Claudia Schabel of Schabel Solutions


In this week’s episode of The Delicious Story, we talked to coach, speaker and diversity expert Claudia Schabel of Schabel Solutions. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, for over two decades Schabel has consulted companies and organizations in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural competency.

Claudia’s country of origin is Brazil, so naturally, I asked her to indulge us with her experiences of traditional Brazilian BBQ. Just listening to her fond memories of a typical family gathering with meats sizzling on the grill in the background was mouth watering.

If you’re a fan of beans and rice, you’ll find Claudia’s description of the plates she remembers eating as a child inviting, too. Although we didn’t get Claudia’s recipe for this staple served twice daily in most Brazillian homes, here is a recipe from Skinny Taste that will work to give you a sample of the experience.

In between considering salty, tender grilled meats, rice and beans and her favorite cheese bread recipe, Claudia shared wise insights about the topic of diversity. These days, perhaps more than ever, we are looking within our organizations wondering if the people within are accepting of differences and working well to bring everyone into the fold.


Using food as an analogy, I like to think I have a diverse palette for dishes, but of course, I realize my repertoire is limited because there are very few fish and seafood items I like to eat.  Taste, texture, and appearance hold me back, and so I’ve made a decision not to try certain foods that fall within these categories. 

And, like our food choices, we prefer to gravitate to the people we perceive as “similar,” and generally seek commonalities in others because, by doing so we feel more comfortable.  

And if humans tend to gravitate and interact with a “comfortable” tribe of people, this poses a challenge in the broader world of businesses where we all must relate and function together. Claudia shares insights as to why this happens and what we need to consider to broaden our horizons and appreciate the benefits of diversity.

Both Claudia and I live in Des Moines, Iowa, where it can feel as if we’re landlocked for cultural diversity. However, our culinary options continue to expand as our community does. We now have two Brazilian restaurants and a Peruvian one opening soon, thus expanding our link to South America. Our restaurant cornucopia bodes well for this Midwest city in the heart of the U.S.A. However, Claudia says we need to look beyond the food we eat and have a dialogue about the differences so we can become comfortable in acknowledging how we are not the same.


And, since we are about food on The Delicious Story and I like to talk about comfort food, in particular, Claudia and I easily segued to talking about her particular favorite, called Pão de queijo (“cheese bread” in Portuguese). Here is the recipe she shared, compliments of Rick Martinez. The Brazilian bread is made with tapioca flour and cheese.

 Pão de Queijo


½ cup whole milk

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

2 cups tapioca flour

2 large eggs

5 ounces fresh farmers cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

2 ounces crumbled parmesan (about ½ cup)

·         Arrange a rack in center of oven; preheat to 425̊. Heat milk, butter, salt, and ¼ cup water in a large saucepan over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add flour; vigorously stir with a wooden spoon until dough is dry and shaggy, about 10 seconds. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl. Let cool 5 minutes.

·         Beat mixture on low speed just until dough starts to come together, about 30 seconds (alternatively, vigorously stir with a wooden spoon). Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat on low speed until incorporated (dough will look broken at first, then come together). Continue to beat on low speed until dough is smooth, sticky, and somewhat stretchy; do not overbeat or dough will lose its stretch. Add farmer cheese and Parmesan and beat on low speed until evenly distributed.

·         Using a 1⅓-oz. ice cream scoop, portion dough and transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, spacing about 2" apart (alternatively, form dough into ping pong ball-sized pieces with your hands).

·         Bake 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue to bake until pão are very light brown, with some darker brown speckles all over (that’s the cheese), and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, 20−25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.



Sherry is a personal publisher of histories for families and companies. With more than a decade of experience, she has worked with clients to curate and craft the significant stories and images of their history into beautiful legacy books to share with those who matter most.


The Storied Gifts Shop provides a collection of beautiful objects, clothing and home décor items designed to inspire you as your life story unfolds. Please visit to find tokens meant to encourage you to live your best and fullest adventure of a life!