The WC Press Behind the Scenes - October 2016

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An inside look at some of West Chester’s best-knowN businesses


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“The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.” –Benjamin Disreali



COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Diane LeBold Andrea Mason DJ Romeo Dr Geoff Winkley Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit

Noting 15 19 31 35 45 53 59

Our no-nonsense table of contents

BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Derek Krissinger is re-inventing the classics at Pietro’s Prime INNSIDE JOB A day in the life of the innkeeper at Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast OWNER OF THE MONTH Catherine Seisson La Baguette Maguique followed her dreams BEYOND THE GATE Exploring the architecture and history of Greystone Hall LIFE ON THE LINE Photographing the cooks and crews of the borough’s best kitchens THE MAN (AND WOMAN) BEHIND THE CURTAIN Getting to know more about the team behind WCU Live! PHOTO HUNT Find five differences and earn a chance to win a prize

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From the

“There’s a bond among a kitchen staff; you spend more time with your chef than you do with your own family.” —Gordon Ramsay


I’ve worked a few jobs in the service industry, first as a busboy at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Cape May and later as a server at the Applebee’s on West Chester Pike. During and after college I waited tables at an awesome, little restaurant in Cape May called Backstreet Café. I dabbled in other places. But I’ve never worked Back of the House, which is Restaurant Speak for “everything the customers don’t see.” Sure, half a busboy’s job happens in corners of the kitchen never seen by diners, but I sometimes received tips for snagging a refill, or took a second to chat with customers. And yeah, I did my sidework at Applebee’s (sidework is pretty much anything other than serving, like, say, refilling the ketchup), and if my shift saw me opening for lunch, I went back in the kitchen and bagged salads before we unlocked the doors (yes, your lettuce was weighed on a scale and portioned into plastic bags at about 10am), but the real Back of House guys worked the other side of The Pass. The Pass is Restaurant Speak for “the long, flat surface where dishes are plated and picked up by waitstaff.” The best way to understand the main difference between Front of House and Back is by thinking of it like a performance. If the staff of your favorite pub were a theatre company, the bartenders and servers would be the stars of the show, but everyone from the executive chef to the dishwashers, and all the myriad roles in-between, are the technical crew. They’re responsible for the costumes and the lighting, the set and the sound. The backof-house staff at your favorite restaurant are just as responsible for the pleasure you take from dining there as the barkeep with whom you swap jokes, but they almost never get the recognition they deserve. So, that was the premise of the magazine you hold in your hands. We wanted to take the time to spotlight the talented crews at some of West Chester’s favorite establishments. There’s Sabina Sister’s photo essay of the borough’s best kitchens, showing the chefs, cooks and crew at work. Then we have esteemed area author Catherine Quillman’s first-ever contribution to this magazine in the form of a piece that explores the history behind the walls of Greystone Hall, Chester County’s own architectural gem from the Gilded Age. We also had Kate Chadwick roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty by spending some time helping out (and staying in luxury) at Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast. For a more literal interpretation of the theme, we tasked Tara Bosler with tracking down the folks behind WCU Live!, the organization responsible for some of the most exciting stage productions seen in West Chester every year. This issue might not suddenly convince people who’ve never worked in a restaurant to start tipping like those who have, and we don’t expect it to turn stagehands into stars, but we do hope that these features bring to light some images and ideas you’ve never pondered. Maybe it’ll give you a newfound appreciation for those who work The Line... which is Restaurant Speak that I’m confident you can decipher on your own.



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Andrea Mason is an interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

Are you ready for the cold weather to hit? The winter months can create wear and tear on our homes. Prepare your home properly for the next couple months with our helpful tips below. Remove AC Units Stay warmer this winter by removing your window AC units to keep cold air from creeping through the cracks. If you decide to keep them in, we suggest purchasing insulating covers, which can be purchased at any hardware store. Change Out Bedding It’s that time to cozy up in your favorite duvet. Replace your light blanket with a warm wool or flannel blanket and you will not be sorry. When styling your bed, remember: it’s all about layering. We recommend topping your fitted sheet with a flat sheet, then a warm blanket, your duvet, and finally an additional blanket to keep at the foot of your bed. Your bed will look complete while also providing comfort through the long winter months ahead. Prep the Gutters The big clean out of your gutters is best attended to after the last leaves have fallen, but you can better prepare for winter by doing a preliminary sweep. This will require you to check for anything blocking the passage, like twigs and leaves. While you are up there, make sure the seals are still intact around the chimney or vent pipes. This job is not for those who have fear of heights, please hire a professional if you have multiple stories to tidy. Clean the Chimney Make sure that your chimney will be ready for any lit fires. Have a professional clean it out so that animals will not hide in there for the winter. If you don’t already own a fireplace cap then you should consider purchasing one. It will protect any animals from coming inside through the chimney and also protect fire embers from escaping on the roof. This is also a great time to purchase and store your firewood. You want to keep it under cover from the weather, but do not lean it against your house because that encourages contamination from critters, both in your logs and in your home. Use Less Energy You can add more insulation to your attic or walls and help keep the warm air inside. Consider updating or replacing your windows and doors. Double pane windows will help to keep your house warm. If you want to keep your existing windows and doors you can add weather stripping to them and help retain the heat. Inspect and replace any currently damaged weather stripping that you have. If you feel a cold breeze entering from beneath your door we suggest purchasing a door sweep to keep the cold air out. These tips are also helpful to keep the house cool in the summer months! With these simple suggestions, you will be ready for what winter has in store for us this year. Now it’s time to cozy up near your roaring fire and watch the cold weather outside from the comfort of your warm home! –





Bartender of the


PHOTO Sabina Sister


Derek Krissinger is re-inventing the classics at Pietro's Prime Let’s start with an open-ended question: tell me about yourself. I’m 27, been working in town for eight years, at Pietro’s for six. Started out at Limoncello, was at Teca, then moved to Nonna’s and Pietro’s. How about outside of work? I just moved into the new Chestnut Square Apartments which are great. I’ve been hosting people as often as I can. What’s the most important thing you do as a host? I think it’s the cocktails I make. I like to think outside the box for different recipes and accompanying dishes. So, you’re even a mixologist in your spare time. Oh yeah. I do it as often as I possibly can. It’s just like cooking: you con-

stantly need to improve your techniques and ingredients. I always try to bring complexity to my cocktails. Some cocktails have been around forever, and even those I’m trying to elevate with new techniques. For instance... the Old Fashioned: instead of muddling oranges and cherries— which I think is distracting when you’re getting bits of fruit in each sip—I do mine in a mixing pitcher. I just take an orange slice, orange bitters, and a simple syrup I make with Sugar in the Raw. I use rye bourbon, and instead of shaking it, which dilutes the drink faster, I use a mixing spoon, then pour it over fresh ice. I take a fresh lemon peel and wrap it around a Luxardo cherry and then smoke that with a lighter. You smoke the lemon? When you squeeze the rind, the juice is actually flammable, so when you take a lighter to that, it adds some more smoke flavor. Wow. Anything else up your sleeve? The other cocktail I do that’s very popular is our espresso martini—I think it’s one of the best in town. I use real espresso, vanilla vodka, and a few other ingredients which I won’t divulge because I want people to come try it for themselves.

If I was gonna come try that, when is the best time? Fridays it’s me, Andrew Giunta and Neil Felegy; it’s a good crew. We’ve got a great happy hour, too: Monday-Friday, 5-7pm we do a dollar off any drink and half-priced appetizers, which include the black and white tuna and the calamari, and our parmesan truffle fries which we sell so many of. What’s something you’d like everyone to know about you? I’m very family-oriented and really close with my parents. And, since I’ve been here for six years, the Pietro’s employees have become like my second family. We’re a really close-knit group because the restaurant has extremely low turnover—we’ve got a lot of people that’ve been here since day one—nine years. Do you think that's noticed by the customers? Absolutely. We have a huge following of regulars because of that family environment. When someone comes in, I know what they drink, I know their wife’s name and their kid’s name. When you’ve got someone’s drink waiting when they sit down, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Good customer service, good cocktails, good food—that’s Pietro's.





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Every autumn kids and their families make the often-difficult transition back to school, back to homework, tests and after-school activities. Many students greet the return to classes with enthusiasm, but for some, school and its related demands create stress that is hard to express, let alone handle, without support. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five kids ages 13-18 has or will have a serious mental illness. During adolescence, how do you know if your child’s behaviors are typical developmental changes, or reflect mental illness that requires medical attention? Mental health disorders include behaviors that negatively impact relationships with family or friends, affect the child’s ability to function in school, or lead to risky behaviors that hurts themself or others. Common mental health illnesses diagnosed in school-age children include: Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder: ADHD is a common behavioral disorder that affects about 10% of school-age children, primarily boys. Symptoms include long-term, consistent behaviors that indicate an inability to pay attention or follow instructions, hyperactivity, and impulsive decision-making. Kids struggling with ADHD may exhibit learning disabilities, anxiety or overwhelming worry, low self-esteem, and frequent irritability. While the cause of ADHD is still being researched, genetic and environmental influences have been identified as factors. Eating Disorders: These illnesses primarily impact young women, and include the disorders commonly referred to as bulimia and anorexia. Symptoms of these disorders may start simply as rigorous diet or exercise regimens, however bulimics will binge eat and then purge their food, whereas anorexics will eat only small amounts of food or avoid food altogether. If your teen obsesses over weight loss, is often unhappy or critical of his/her body or appearance, or uses the bathroom routinely after eating, share your concerns. Anxiety Disorders: Teenagers balance and respond to numerous sources of stimuli, information, and social and academic expectations, so it’s not surprising that an estimated 10% suffer from an anxiety disorder. Short-term worrying or feeling anxious is normal, but when those feelings rarely cease and your child is uneasy or fearful, or feels that they are not in control or overwhelmed, they may be experiencing an anxiety disorder such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or Panic Disorder. People with GAD experience prolonged periods of worry, and may have frequent difficulty falling or staying asleep. People with Panic Disorder experience frequent unpredictable attacks of fear, also described as a panic or anxiety attack. It’s equally as important that you share your observations with your child to better understand what they are feeling, as it is to consult your pediatrician or family doctor. Proper communication is one of the best ways to ensure your child has a successful back-to-school season! –





unbrook B E D I J OB N NS


story Kate Chadwick photos Amy Tucker

a day in the life of the innkeeper at Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast

© Leigh Vogel OCTOBER 2016 THEWCPRESS.COM 19




et’s pretend for a moment that you’re having a few people over to your house. You know how it is: you want everything to look nice and for your guests to enjoy themselves, so you’re running around cleaning, straightening up, making food, tending to every little last minute detail in anticipation of their arrival (which, if you’re me, may or may not also entail shoving things into closets that you hope no one opens, but I digress). You have that notentirely-unpleasant sort of tense feeling, that inevitable lead up to what you know— or at least hope—will be a fun event, while you have one eye on the clock and the other on the front door. Now imagine that feeling with the following parameters: you’re not expecting a few people, you’re expecting 30 people. And you don’t really know them. And the event is one of three that you’ll be hosting in the next 72 hours. And your house is full of stunning antiques (including a fantastic grand piano) and a couple of stained glass windows. There will be caterers and florists and guests traipsing in and out of the place, and you will have to oversee everything. Oh, and some or all of these people will

Faunbrook sits serenely on a hill, a silent, lovely testament to a gentler time. sleep over, AND you get to make breakfast for them. This is simply business as usual in the life of Lori Zytkowicz, the owner, operator and jill-of-all-trades at Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast in West Chester. If you’re not familiar with Faunbrook, it’s a beautiful Victorian-style estate home that was built in 1860, which now serves as a bed and breakfast inn on Rosedale Avenue in West Chester, just a couple of blocks from the West Chester University campus and about a mile from downtown. The inn offers seven rooms/suites

for accommodations, as well as common areas like a cozy library and a parlor featuring stunning windows overlooking the wraparound porch, patio, and the greenery that abounds on the inn’s two-acre plot. Faunbrook sits serenely on a hill, a silent, lovely testament to a gentler time. The inn hosts between 25-40 events per year, “Some are paid, some are networking,” according to Lori. Approximately 30% of the room nights are booked for the events, and the other 70% are regular bed and breakfast stays, Lori says. Of course, the best way to get a look behind the scenes at an inn is to stay there, so… yes, don’t mind if I do. The evening of my stay, there was a rehearsal dinner scheduled for 5pm, and when I arrived at 4pm, preparations had already begun. Lori answered the (gorgeous!) door, and then excused herself to finish a phone call while I wandered around, playing a game in my head I like to call “Could I Live Here?” (Conclusion in the first 30 seconds or so: yes, I could live here.) Upon her return, Lori gave me a tour of the place, and, as luck would have it, no one had checked in yet, so I got a peek into each of the lovely rooms.







Previously the family home of Smedley Darlington, a West Chester banker, businessman, and politician who bought the estate in 1867, the rooms are named after his five daughters and one son; then there is the Darlington Suite, where I was booked for the evening. Each room is beautifully decorated in fabulous period furnishings, and has its own distinct personality. Lori’s other job (did we mention Lori has another job?) working 18-20 hours per weeks as an auctioneer at Briggs Auction in Garnet Valley affords her first-hand access to amazing antique finds, that have helped her to keep Faunbrook looking…well, up-to-date, if in a decidedly old-fashioned way. Lori has owned Faunbrook for nine years, and says, “It was completely turnkey—already up and running as an inn when I took over.” She lives on the premises, and employs a small part-time staff of assistant innkeepers: Glenn Baker, Tyler Murphy and Peta Anne Cullen. Lori’s boyfriend, Jon Gottier, also lives on the premises, and although he has a full-time job elsewhere, he was spotted helping out around the inn and is always ready to lend a hand, according to Lori.

Back downstairs, we walked through the lovely library, which is a common area for guests with plenty of seating, a television, shelves stocked with books, and tables topped with magazines and newspapers of local interest (including The WC Press, naturally). Lori also keeps a binder on the coffee table, filled with suggestions on area attractions and restaurant recommendations and menus. The warm and spacious dining room is dominated by a long table with a fireplace at one end, and with another snug little seating area at the other end of the room, just off to the right—easily my favorite spot in the house. Furnished with a couple of cozy chairs, colorful paper lanterns, and a small refrigerator for guests to stow doggy bags or beverages (and usually stocked with complimentary beer and wine), it’s an intimate little space full of natural light—a perfect spot to read with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The kitchen was our destination, however, so through the swinging door we went, and I took a seat—albeit briefly—at the counter. Within moments a flower delivery from Katie Mac florists arrived, and Lori and Jon chatted easily with the delivery man, clearly a regular visitor.

Lori showed me the folder that she gives to guests considering an event, which lists preferred caterers, vendors, florists, and the like. “This weekend is a bit of an anomaly, in that the caterers tonight and tomorrow are ones who’ve never been here before,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons I’ve made it a point to be here.” She typically relies on her staff to manage check-ins on the occasions when she is working at the auction. Lori and I took the boxes of flowers out to the patio, where the rehearsal dinner was being held, and, after putting the tablecloths on, we followed the notes attached with the flowers—i.e. “three small vases on round tables, large vase on square tables.” The flowers provided a pop of color amid the greenery and beautifully offset the



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crisp white linens. A small fountain burbled nearby, and I trotted after Lori while she went to fetch the oil to light the tiki lamps that line the perimeter of the patio. In the waning evening light, the flames echoed the already ethereal effect of the twinkling lights on the house—simple, lovely, very nearly magical. Meanwhile, the caterer had arrived—Bill from Brothers Pizza. “This is not the typical caterer we’d have at a rehearsal dinner here,” Lori said. “But they’re friends with the bride and that’s what she wanted and let’s face it—the food is great.” Bill and his crew got to work setting out bruschetta, cheese and vegetable plates in the parlor area, then began setting up in the dining room, distributing serving dishes for hot food on the big table. There was also a table in the corner of the wraparound porch for a bar, and Bill got busy opening wine bottles, and filling a tub provided by Lori with ice to chill the beer and soft drinks. And while all of this was happening, guests started arriving for check-in, which is between 4-8pm at Faunbrook. Lori greeted guests personally at the door, assisting with luggage, getting them accli-

In the waning evening light, the flames echoed the already ethereal effect of the twinkling lights on the house— simple, lovely, very nearly magical. mated, and, in some cases, escorting them to their rooms. I asked her if all of the arriving guests were with the rehearsal dinner party, and, unbelievably, none of them were. “Oh, no—they’re all here for tomorrow’s party,” she said. “And that’s an anniversary party?” I replied. “Yes. A 50th, so a lot of people are travelling from out of state.” “And how many people at that party?” I squeaked. “That will be 70 people,” she said serenely.

By now the guests were also starting to arrive for the rehearsal dinner as well, and Lori navigated seamlessly between the disparate groups of people, chatting easily, giving guests a bit of the inn’s history, and never taking her eyes off of the proceedings around us. After the overnight guests were all checked in and the rehearsal dinner in full swing, we headed back to the kitchen so Lori could begin prepping for breakfast. And where—lo and behold—a plate of bruschetta awaited us courtesy of the caterers (thank you, Bill!). I munched happily while Lori peeled apples, only pausing for a moment when Bill poked his head in and asked if she had a basket he could borrow, which she promptly provided. The kitchen is not a commercial one, but it is large and well-equipped, and I got the feeling just by watching her that Lori could easily navigate it blindfolded. “This is a bit of a luxury, really—being able to prep this far in advance for breakfast,” she said. “Usually during an event, the caterers come in and completely take over my kitchen. This is nice to be able to get a jump on things.” She was interrupted once by a phone call, which she excused herself to





take in another room, and came back to report that it was someone inquiring about whether scheduling their wedding at Faunbrook for mid-November was too soon. “It’s amazing— even to me—how quickly I’ve gotten some wedding events pulled together,” she laughed. While she admits that the first year or so was a bit of a learning curve, she’s now got it down to a science. “Give me a week or two, and I can do it.” Now that everything was under control and the party in full swing, I popped upstairs to freshen up before heading out for dinner with a friend. You can check out all of Faunbrook’s room on their website; I’ll just say that my favorite parts of the Darlington Suite were the fainting couch in front of the fireplace... and the actual fireplace. Oh, wait—no. My favorite part was the sheets, which you can buy, apparently!—just consult the guest binder provided in each room. The room had just the right amount of old-fashioned charm and luxury, and modern convenience, with such things as a tiny stool to help me get into the higher-than-typical antique bed, to a flat-screen television tucked into an imposing armoire. The gorgeous purple shade of the walls was the perfect backdrop to the dark antique furniture. My friend and I briefly considered just eating bruschetta in the room, but departed for dinner in town instead. It was 10pm or so when I returned to the inn, and Lori was just finishing cleaning up after the rehearsal dinner. She had, bless her, saved me a small plate of cheese left over from the event; it was tucked into the guest refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, topped with a sticky note with my name on it (that, ladies and gentlemen, is hospitality). I asked her what time I should report to the kitchen for breakfast duty; Lori said she’d be in there by 7am, but I could come at 8am since she’d gotten a jump start on the prep earlier in the evening. Breakfast is served at 9am. Upon my arrival in the kitchen the next morning, I met Peta, one of Lori’s helpers, who was skillfully skewing grapes, strawberries, melon and pineapple on kabobs, to be served alongside the main course: baked apple and cream cheese-stuffed French toast, which was as outrageously good as it sounds. This was in addition to the fluffy scrambled eggs (delivered from a local farm), and maple sausage from the Amish market nearby. “I’ve been doing farm-to-table since before it was cool,” Lori said. “It’s just always made sense to me.” And, when I placed those plates down in front of some of those 10 guests seated at that long dining room table, it certainly seemed to make them pretty happy. The room was soon filled with coffee-fueled chatter; the smell of apples and cinnamon in the air. Back in the kitchen, after clearing the table, I asked Lori how she managed to remain so unflappable through the commotion of having all these people in and out of her actual home, never mind hosting some pretty special events for them, housing them overnight, and feeding them. “Well, I’m a breast cancer survivor,” she said. “And when you go through something like that, it tends to kind of put everything else into perspective. You get a little more choosy about what you get upset about and what you let affect you.” As I was getting ready to head upstairs to pack up and reluctantly hit the road, a Penske moving truck pulled up out in front of the inn, and burly men started unloading tables and chairs for the day’s anniversary party, with its 70 guests. After stepping outside to give the men some direction, Lori popped back in to take a phone call. It was the caller from the previous day, confirming plans for a mid-November wedding for 35 guests. And no doubt Lori Zytkowicz and her crew will work hard to bring that party together, but they’ll make it look like a piece of cake.






Diane LeBold and the West Chester Food Co-Op examine local food production and bring eaters closer to the source of their food.


You’ve probably noticed that many growers in Chester County avoid using chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. It's an admirable commitment, but they can’t call their produce “organic”—that label is restricted to farmers who go through the time-consuming and expensive process of becoming “USDA certified organic.” So what’s the difference between a grower who’s USDA certified and a grower who just avoids certain chemicals? The short explanation is that USDA certification requires much more than simply avoiding chemicals. One of the main goals of the certification process is to preserve and enrich the soil, to ensure a sustainable future for farming, and there are many requirements tied to that goal that go beyond avoiding harmful chemicals. Despite the additional time and expense involved in USDA certification, Jonathan Crawford, of Crawford Organics in Lancaster County, feels very strongly that certification is an essential part of doing what’s right for both his customers and his family’s farm. And the success of his family’s business sure seems to indicate they’re on the right track. Most organic operations in our area rely solely on retail sales. But, with 22 acres planted in a wide range of produce, from tomatoes, to cilantro, to popcorn, Crawford is one of the area’s only organic farms that derives most of its revenue from wholesale distribution. Working in partnership with Lancaster County-based Paradise Organics, they distribute mainly to stores and restaurants in Philadelphia. But here’s the good news for us West Chestrians: the Crawfords also have a retail operation, servicing about 30 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) drop-off locations—and one of these locations is right here in West Chester at the Church of the Holy Trinity on South High Street. More good news: You can still sign up for Crawford’s fall CSA shares, which run through December. Jonathan notes that they’re able to provide a wide range of delicious vegetables, even after frost sets in, by growing certain crops in “hoops”—a kind of movable greenhouse. Although Jonathan’s father, Jim, was raised on a traditional farm in Missouri, he began a certified organic operation in 1998, first in Dauphin County, then in Lancaster County—and he’s still involved with the farm today. Jonathan says his dad just didn’t like the idea of using chemicals. Like most small farmers, the Crawfords lease the land, because the cost of buying acreage is prohibitive. According to Jonathan, land for a small farm in Lancaster County can sell for $60,000 an acre or more. Leasing also can make things tricky for farmers, thanks to the relentless pressure of development. It’s not unusual for a landowner to eventually give in to that pressure and sell the land, leaving the farmer looking for other options. “We’d love to own a place,” Jonathan says, “but affordability is an issue. Even leasing is tight.” — Learn more about the Crawford farm and sign up for their CSA at Learn more about the West Chester Food Co-op at





Owner of the


PHOTO Sabina Sister

INTERVIEW Sabina Sister

Catherine Seisson left her job to follow her dreams and open La Baguette Magique So, where does this story start? I always wanted to be a chef. My dad was a chef and my brother is a chef. We had a family-owned business in France, and I loved being with my dad in the kitchen. We went to the huge market in the morning, and I loved it. I wanted to bake bread, but my parents told me to go to university. So I went to university, graduated with a Ph.D. What did you do with that degree? I spent a year in Scotland and Spain, then I joined a biological vaccine company, where I spent 23 years. I was running big projects with many people. I spent two years in Toronto and then many months

in the Poconos where my company was stationed. At one point—call it my midlife crisis—this company had gotten so big, there were 80,000 people by then, and I had changed. I knew that I wanted to make a change: I just wanted to bake. And you just went for it. I took a year off to learn how to bake in France. It was half hands-on experience and half classes. After I graduated, I spent another year preparing my plan of action. I asked myself what I needed to do to open a bakery in the US: how do I get license, a visa, etc. Even just opening a bank account was very difficult initially. What brought you to West Chester? I knew I wanted to be in PA—my husband works in the area. Luckily, the town I’m from, Lyon, had an agreement with West Chester to establish business relationships between our two towns. Still, when we arrived, I rented a car and drove all around PA for three weeks and rated all the places based off of what I wanted for my business. West Chester won all the votes. What a journey! So what is your favorite thing to bake? Brioche! From baking, mixing, to eating!

What makes a good brioche? Butter— not margarine, no additives or fake sugars. Just butter and only the best, natural ingredients. It’s a three-day process, and it’s really important to have the best ingredients to ensure that process yields a delicious brioche. What are some of your best-sellers? The breads! People love the quality and aroma. All our breakfast items are popular, too. I’m learning to add cinnamon to my baked goods because the French don’t typically like cinnamon, but Americans do! The quiche too. It has everything you need. What’s your favorite thing about West Chester? The sense of community—I see it in my shop all the time. People come in and they know each other and everyone is always trying to take care of everyone here. I love all the parks, the library, the streets. Everything is so beautiful, and I have everything I need right here. What is one thing you want your customers to know? I’m just a piece of the puzzle here. Nothing would be possible without my amazing staff. I had the idea, but they make it happen. It would not be the success that it is without my staff.













story Catherine Quillman photos courtesy Greystone Hall trout pond or swim or boat at one of the estate’s three hand-dug lakes.

If there was ever a West Chester Velda recently recalled that her cousresident who lives “behind the ins were the first to live there; she was scenes,” nearly on a daily basis, somewhat of an outsider when she came to visit, familiar more with the oriit’s Velda Jerrehian Moog. When she was a young girl in the 1940s, the Jerrehian family purchased a local landmark that practically every child in the borough knew intimately, at least its extensive grounds. Known as Greystone Hall, the sprawling 70-room mansion was built by Philip M. ``P.M.'' Sharples, the inventor of a popular cream separator who lost his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929. The mansion took so long to build— more than three years, beginning in 1905—its construction became a public event, with sightseers setting up picnic spreads on the front lawn to watch an army of workers use such new materials as steel I-beams and concrete. Later, the Sharples permitted the general public to roam around the gardens, fish in the

ental rugs that adorned the halls, which came from the Jerrehian store in Philadelphia, than the rooms themselves.

Today, Velda's family lives on the upper floors of the mansion and oversees it as a wedding venue. In fact, she has lived at Greystone since 1952, but she still has to remind herself that the house is not entirely hers. “Once we made the decision that we needed to rent the downstairs, that was it,” she recalls. “We don’t worry about the people in our house.” The “people” includes the bridal party, of course. Prior to the wedding ceremony, they are generally given the former breakfast room where a large standing mirror has been installed. The groomsmen are in another room, separated by the extensive kitchen lined with such thick tiles that no sounds get through. Billed in a recent lecture as Chester

County’s best example of English Renaissance architecture, the mansion is an imposing place, with the requisite “Great Hall” where the bride and groom tend to stand in front of a massive marble Italianate fireplace. When Velda, a former attorney with the Army and Internal Revenue Service, moved to Greystone after 25 years of living in Washington, she briefly considered opening it as a bed and breakfast, which would have entailed opening her home to a few guests on weekends. Instead, Velda opted for black-tie wedding parties and special events, events like the series of lectures—co-hosted by the Chester County Historical Society and focusing on different aspects of either Greystone or Sharples’ history— that ends this week. (Full disclosure: I’m giving the last lecture, a virtual tour of Sharples-related sites in the borough) Hosting what Velda calls “life events”— white-gown ceremonies, cakes, toasts and family photos—began as a stop-gap measure to maintain a home that cost about $100,000 a year to maintain. The gutters alone are extensive: the frontage





extends more than 250 feet, with numerous turrets and chimneys to work around. On a recent visit, with the thick walls of the mansion shutting out the sounds of lawn mowers, Velda and I enjoyed tea in the Music Room. Velda jokes that she and her daughter “talk weddings ad nauseam,'' but there is something museumlike about the mansion that demands a public display. Here and there are heavily carved Jacobean-style chairs left against the dark wainscoted walls, the shiny surface reflecting light from brass sconces. Perhaps because there are so many rooms, and heavy doors, it looks as though the real occupants of the house—say, a courier with a white cravat, or a servant in pale gloves—have just stepped away. With the owner out of sight, one has the urge to glide down the oak parquet floors or try the banister, which is thick and sturdy and looks like an easy ride from the second floor balcony. Other rooms such as a palm-filled conservatory and the billiards room with its wall filled with animal heads, recall the board game 'Clue,' as if highlighting all the

places Colonel Mustard can be found.

“With the owner out of sight, one has the urge to glide down the oak parquet floors or try the banister, which is thick and sturdy and looks like an easy ride from the second floor balcony.” Of course, I don’t mention this when Velda kindly offers to give me a complete tour of the mansion including the servants’ quarters, where she and her husband live. We take the back staircase, passing closed doors where a tenant has lived for years, all the while discussing other occupants who live behind other doors such as in the English Tudor-style stable and the 200-year-old cabin where her daughter lives. “This

was once the governess’ room,” she says of a brightly lit room with an elegantly carved fireplace. Once back in the Music Room, Velda demonstrates that the pocket doors can be pulled closed, shutting out the large dining room and creating an inmate spot for cocktails. I'm offered more behind-the-scenes knowledge as we walk down the long corridors, where Velda points out several doorways designed to be hidden when closed. They are flush with wainscoted walls, some of which are leather lined, and so I immediately conclud that they led to a secret room… and am somewhat disappointed to learn that they were once used for a practical task: bringing firewood into a room without disturbing the occupant. The public/private aspects of Greystone are in keeping with its architecture, with bay windows and built-in benches installed throughout the mansion so that the surrounding views can be enjoyed. In Sharples’ time, the property included nearly a 1000 acres of woods, lakes, open fields, and formal “Italian” water gardens.





Milk separators, which enabled dairy farmers to separate milk from the cream on the farm rather that at the local creamery, were made by other firms. But no one sold them like Philip M. Sharples. Surpassing mere calendar giveaways, the company had 100 account executives whose sole job was to travel throughout the world, attending dairy fairs and exhibits. In the process, Sharples not only made a fortune, he became West Chester’s first industrialist.

early on Wednesdays during the summer so that people could boat or swim on the estate’s lakes.

In West Chester, he is credited for building “much of the northeast section of the borough” thanks to his invention of “the first cream separator” made in America, as one obituary described it when Sharples died in 1944 at the age of 87. Others hailed Sharples’ early work in forestry and developing the state park system. In news stories of the day, Sharples— the “millionaire manufacturer" who was known simply as “PM”— was noted for his philanthropy and eccentric habits. He tooled around in a one-of-a-kind, handbuilt car, for instance, and later had a small plane that he kept in a hangar on his property. Landing it, he often nearly touched the tops of the hundreds of Norway pines and Japanese larch that formed the woodlands of the estate. Partly because of these imported trees, as well as “transplanted” animals—such as “Kentucky” rabbits, “Chinese” pheasants, and Mallard ducks “raised from eggs

secured from the [Mary] Cassatt farm,” as one paper reported—few seemed to know what to make of the place. In the words of one writer, who wrote of the "long rose pergola" at the foot of the mansion's lawn, "West Chester residents can scarcely believe that such a place exists so near their home." As for the estate’s “hidden” location, reporters routinely recalled the Catskills with its dense scenery or they compared the grounds to Switzerland with its “cool waters” and “woodland glades and dells.” Ironically, given its mysterious allure, much of the estate’s extensive grounds were open to the public during its peak years from 1911 to the 1929. There were even posted hours at a gate house, resulting in generations of borough residents treating the estate much like an English country park. Sunday drives through the estate were popular and many West Chester businesses closed

Reached by two long driveways (including one near the Chester County hospital), Greystone was known for its copses of thick woods and “hairpin turns” that threatened to topple old jalopies. Those driven by intrepid reporters, as many news stories suggest, considered the estate open territory for the latest news scoop. Perhaps most descriptive was the sea of “khaki tents” that appeared on Greystone’s open fields when a unit of the U.S. Marines was invited to dinner in 1915. While the community is no longer teeming with interest in the estate's occupants, animals, or even the park grounds—the lakes, for one, were filled in long ago—Greystone is still very much in the public's memory, and remains an essential part of our history. Aside from "reunion" parties Velda holds for the married couples, she is happy to stay behind closed doors so that others can celebrate their life events at Greystone. As she puts it, “We like to say, ‘this is your family home for the day.’” For more information about the Greystone lectures or to purchase tickets, visit:






Becca Boyd has a passion for good food


The return of soup season is a welcome one in my home. I can’t think of a healthier, more crowd-pleasing or more soul-soothing dish to make in the busy fall months. This soup should be served with a hunk of crusty, fresh bread, warmed in the oven and dipped into a plate of salted olive oil. The pumpkin seed recipe should come in handy towards the end of the month; just because the kids make jack-o-lanterns doesn’t mean they get to have all the fun. – Tomato, White Bean and Rosemary Soup Serves 8-10 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, smashed 2 tbsp. tomato paste 32 oz. canned whole peeled tomatoes 2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 4 c. chicken broth 1 sprig fresh rosemary 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until softened, stirring occasionally, about five minutes. 2. Add tomato paste and stir frequently, about 1 minute. 3. Meanwhile, take tomatoes from can and discard remaining juice. Place in a bowl and using kitchen scissors or a knife, roughly chop each tomato in half or thirds. 4. Add tomatoes, beans, broth, rosemary, red pepper and salt to pot and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and place lid on pot in order to bring to boil. Remove lid and reduce heat to low; simmer for about twenty minutes. 5. Remove sprig of rosemary and puree soup (either with stick blender or by transferring to blender/food processor). 6. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, some chopped fresh rosemary, and/or freshly grated parmesan cheese. Barbecue Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Makes 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds (from one large pumpkin) 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. paprika 1/2 tsp. garlic salt 1/2 tsp. sugar 1/4 tsp. onion powder 1/4 tsp. chili powder pinch cayenne (or more to taste) 1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 2. Toss seeds in mixing bowl with oil and spices. 3. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil. If using foil, spray lightly with nonstick spray. 4. Spread seeds evenly on pan and bake for 45 minutes, stirring once. 5. Let cool on pan, then store at room temperature in an airtight container. Will keep for several days at room temperature.






on the


a photo feature exploring the cooks and crews of the borough's best kitchens

Andy Patten prepares to sautĂŠ vegetables while Anthony Larocca seasons wild sea bass at Spence 312. photo by Andrew Hutchins



"It was extremely cold in the back of Colonial Village Meat Market, like 40 degrees, and while everyone else in the kitchen was goofing off, meat cutter Jim Frankenfield was focused on the task at hand, intently slicing into ribs." –Sabina Sister

"Michael Digi was working shoulder-to-shoulder with chef Sean Powell as Sean plated a vegetable Napoleon at Pietro's Prime." –Andrew Hutchins





"The Barnaby's crew prepped a whole case of onions, and as I shot the photos, I was just constantly crying. It was amazing how many onions they went through, and nobody else was crying." –Sabina Sister

"Dave Yori, at Yori's Church Street Bakery, had this contraption that rolled out the dough for him along his huge table, several feet of dough at a time." –Sabina Sister

"Vincenzo was chopping squash to be baked for their famous pumpkin gelato. Everything's from scratch at Gemelli Artisanal Gelato." –Sabina Sister

"Ram’s Head was one of the quieter kitchens. They were focused on their task and pulling just an incredible amount of pork." –Sabina Sister



"Every movement Social Lounge's chef Dan Funk made was really efficient—within seconds he had a flame going that warmed the whole kitchen and was so intense I thought my lens was going to melt." –Sabina Sister

"Maryellen and her staff were so much fun. Cakes & Candies by Maryellen are the official bakers of the Baltimore Orioles, and that morning they were putting together huge orders of player requests." –Sabina Sister

"Saloon 151 sold out of everything during Restaurant Festival, so the kitchen was busy when I showed up Monday, but chef Melissa Grafton was still joking in Spanish with her crew as she prepped this brisket." –Sabina Sister





The team behind WCU Live! bring West Chester amazing live performances at an even better price. story Tara Bosler, photos Andrew Hutchins






he West Chester University campus is rich with events that are open to the public, ranging from astronomical wonders at the planetarium to the beautiful and eclectic art shows in the John H. Baker gallery. But the one organization that is continually bringing the arts to the campus in a very “something for everyone” fashion is the WCU Live! series. WCU Live! was formerly called The Visiting Artist Series and was started in 1995 when John Rhein, director and curator for WCU Live!, came to West Chester University’s campus. Through a rebranding process in 2012, the series became WCU Live!, which strives to be a hub for the arts for both the campus and the borough. “We are a cultural resource to the community, not just to students,” Rhein explains. The performance lineup is diverse and spans a wide array of acts. This season showcases Steep Canyon Rangers, a Broadway review, Cirque Zuma Zuma, and a show entitled Stunt Dog Experience, among others. The lineup

runs the gamut of arts and entertainment.

problems or issues on show days and more.

Behind the scenes—and beginning months before any performance—there is extensive work to be done to prepare, and that works falls squarely at the feet of the WCU Live! Advisory Committee. This committee is made up of several individuals that act as connectors for all aspects of the organization, from booking to marketing. Friends of WCU Live! are the financial contributors, many of whom change from year to year. The WCU Theatre Department is also involved with WCU Live! in a collaborative nature. But really, when it all boils down, the brunt of the work is done by the two-person dream team of John Rhein and his assistant Madeline Bell.

About a year in advance, John and Madeline begin shaping the schedule through countless connections. On an annual basis, one member of the duo will also travel to the Performing Arts Exchange (this year it’s in Orlando) to preview showcases and speak with talent agencies to book the performances that end up on the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre stage.

They do it all. John and Madeline do everything from traveling to conferences, to researching and booking acts, securing grant financing, creating season themes and schedules, marketing for all shows, organizing logistics, managing any

“You want to challenge your audience and bring in something they may have never seen before,” John explains. Some of the best and most successful shows have been outliers of traditional theater performance. Animal shows and marionettes have been big sellers for WCU Live!. Last year’s rescue-based pet comedy show and this year’s Stunt Dog Experience (also featuring rescue dogs), are always some of the easiest tickets to sell. Likewise, Madeline explains how enthusiastic people were a couple years





Caladh Nua

Steep Canyon Rangers Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre

Cirque Zuma Zuma ago about a show they thought was primarily a risk: The National Marionette Theater performance. “People showed up and were mad that it was sold out. All three shows were sold out!” The annual Missoula Children’s Theatre performance is especially meaningful to both John, who has a degree in theatre education. He endearingly explains the performance that is nearest to his heart: “It consists of two people that come in on a Monday, audition almost ninety area kids, cast them that afternoon and begin rehearsal Monday night. By Saturday evening they have a show to put on!” This theatrical experience and performance is guaranteed to break even financially because of enthusiastic and (rightfully) doting family members of the adorable cast. But the creative financing involved in the dynamics of WCU Live! is one that illustrates a heart-centered non-profit. John and Madeline’s exciting explanations of the acts they work to bring to the WCU Live! Series are interspersed with thoughts of balancing the budget, weighing the cost vs potential ticket sales in order to be fiscally viable. To be

clear, their goal isn’t to make money— WCU Live! is truly a labor of love. Occasionally there is a grant available and there are some sponsorships and donations they rely on, but all of that goes right back into the overriding purpose of making the arts accessible to the community. “The town/gown tension is there in any city. People don’t feel comfortable in places where they don’t feel welcome. So part of the challenge is to make this an easy and inviting environment,” John explains, and a significant element in making these shows accessible to everyone in the borough community is the ticket prices. When asked what most surprises audiences about WCU Live!, Maria Urrutia, professor of dance in the theatre department at West Chester University, exclaimed without hesitation, “The affordable tickets!” Maria has been teaching at the university for four years and has been involved in the arts community of Philadelphia for nearly twenty years. As part of the theater department, Maria is a collaborator with WCU Live!. Along with John and Madeline, she feels strongly

that accessibility to the arts is essential to any community, including West Chester. Affordable tickets can become an excellent bridge for that access. The most expensive tickets for a WCU Live! show tend to be a $20 adult ticket; a comparable night in Philadelphia may easily run you $100. John and Madeline are agree on many topics, but it’s where they differ that often adds excitement to the production calendar. They each have their favorites in genre and upcoming shows this season. John is especially looking forward to Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway while Madeline is intrigued to see what the Steep Canyon Rangers have in store. (And along with the rest of the loyal WCU Live! following, they can’t wait for the annual drumming and dance troupe from Tamagawa University!) Still, when asked what their dream show would be to bring to the WCU Live! stage, it was a unanimous, Hamilton! If anyone can do it, it’s these two. To purchase tickets to an upcoming performance visit





Can you find the five differences between these photos from behind the scenes of 2016’s top-grossing movie, Finding Dory? Email your answer to for your chance to win.




DJ Romeo curates a list of the hottest songs you’ll hear this month

Hit List

The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. But, good news: you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your friends. | @DJRomeo24

Bastille - “Good Grief” Artists of Then, Now & Forever - “Forever Country” Dawin ft. R City - “Bikini Body” Big Gigantic ft. Logic & ROZES - “All Of Me” Jason Derulo - “Kiss the Sky” Tove Lo - “Cool Girl” MO - “Final Song” Sia - “The Greatest” Lady Gaga - “Perfect Illusion” Zara Larsson - “Ain’t My Fault” Martin Garrix ft. Bebe Rexha - “In the Name Of Love” Drake ft. Rihanna - “Too Good” Carrie Underwood - “Dirty Laundry” Jordan Fisher - “Looking Like That” The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk - “Starboy” Torey Lanez - “LUV” Jonas Blue ft. JP Cooper - “Perfect Strangers” OneRepublic - “Kids” CL - “LIFTED” Calvin Harris - “My Way” Beyonce - “Hold Up” Dan + Shay - “How Not To” Skrillex & Rick Ross - “Purple Lamborghini” Rihanna - “Love On the Brain” Christina Aguilera - “Telepathy” (Rare Candy Remix) Fifth Harmony - “That’s My Girl” Lumineers - “Cleopatra” Catfish & The Bottlemen - “7” Halsey - “Colors” (Audien Remix)







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