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The BIG ClambakeThe BIG Clambake Chefame/Eating Crowe's Giant Clambake   We've had a lot of fun throwing our Open (and now Pro) Chefame events and now we're going to be putting on a whole new crazy night of fun...  A giant clambake...

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Pro ChefAMe #1 - The Details! September 14th has shaped up to be a prolific evening. ChefAMe is proud to present its first pro event in partnership with the Warwick Hotel and Tavern 17.  Pro ChefAMe will be different from our previous...

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Our first Pro ChefAMe! Open ChefAMe has been incredible so far. We've now done five successful events and we feel that we've learned so much along the way. Our next event is something special. We're holding our first Professional...

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More information on Open ChefAMe #5More information on Open ChefAMe #5 The next event is just around the corner.  Ava is an Italian BYOB (so please, BYOB) located just north of South Street.  We're very excited to have both of our ChefAMe chefs cooking for you at Open ChefAMe...

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Listen to ChefAMe on KYW1060

Posted by Jesse Middleton | Posted in Interviews and Bios, Press | Posted on 13-09-2009

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We always try to keep the press page up to date on our site but we did something pretty fun the other day that we wanted to share with everyone.

I was interviewed by KYW 1060’s Hadas Kuznits outside of the Warwick Hotel and Tavern 17 about the upcoming Pro ChefAMe.  Last week it aired on the radio and a copy of it is also online.  Go ahead and give it a listen and we hope to see you out at a future ChefAMe event!

Oh she can cook! Meet Diana at #5.

Posted by Jesse Middleton | Posted in Interviews and Bios | Posted on 18-08-2009

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We love the fact that Open ChefAMe lets anyone who is daring enough to try their hand in the kitchen.  This time around we have Ali, who has been a professional chef, cooking right along Diana.  Diana is a fantastic woman.  She can cook, she’s got great friends and she’ll be there on August 24th sharing her splendid dishes.

Diana_ChefAMeDiana M. Martignoni: As a child of the 60’s and 70’s I always loved to cook.  My mother, Betty, was my greatest inspiration.  Boy, could she cook.   And both of us were “graduates” of Noni’s (my father’s mother) Italian culinary wonderland created in her South Broad Street kitchen.  She brought it all back from the motherland and it was nothing was short of amazing.

Now some time in the early 70’s, I went out into the world on my own, and, that’s when it started.  Cooking for myself – my own way – always under the influence of Betty and memories of Noni – but definitely with my own spin. It seemed that my contribution to any event was to organize and make the food. I guess it was my way of nurturing the world around me. Weddings, funerals, births, deaths, birthdays, holidays, graduations, you name it – I was in the kitchen. I favored the Italian dishes in the beginning, but, in the early 80’s I met Bea, who continues to be one of my very best friends.  Her family is from Mexico and between her and her mother….well a whole new world was opening up.  You’ll get to meet her on the 24th. Enter Gayle, the third amigo, and you have the makings of too much food and expanded waist belts.  Really, we’d be talking about what was for dinner while eating lunch.

I actually had a real job working in the printing industry as a Sales Rep.  Got to pay the rent! But the minute I got home from work, I’d find my way to the kitchen.  Frankly, that’s how my mornings would start too.  I just love the place.  All those pretty pots!  And let’s not forget the stove.  It took me 30 years to get her!

During the next 25 years I watched, listened and read everything and everyone that knew about cooking.  I questioned them all and learned through osmosis (the best way, really).  I could put out a spread for intimate gathering, small groups – even a good sized crowd.  But, to have control of a real professional kitchen – just a passing dream!  Or is it?

I guess I’m getting what I wished for. You know what they say about that. Oh Boy!

What?  Really… It’s just an intimate dinner for 8 on steroids!

As you now see, I’m a novice at this.  Not formally trained in a culinary school, not vetted in a professional kitchen but certainly well seasoned at home.

I am lucky to be joined by Bea Lisi (my very dear friend), Sean Casey (the son I never had), Lisa May (who got me into this in the first place) and Merissa Martignoni (my lovely daughter who was actually listening when I tried to teach her everything I knew about food).  They continue to encourage my joy for cooking and gladly eat everything I make.

Meet Ali Waks – A local foodie extraordinaire

Posted by Jesse Middleton | Posted in Interviews and Bios | Posted on 18-08-2009

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We’re super excited to have Ali cooking at our next Open ChefAMe.  Her menu sounds delicious and her culinary experience should make this night one incredible night.  Meet Ali:

Ali WaksAli Waks baked her first cake on a rainy Saturday in Fair Harbor, Fire Island in 1977, by the end of the summer she had mastered the fine art of salami & eggs with green peppers and muenster cheese. By 1979 she became proficient in ordering nova lox, all by herself (Thin, so you can see through it!).

Since then she’s eaten roasted corn in Pune, India, bialys in Brooklyn, baguettes by the Seine, lobster rolls in Montauk, kishke in Lower Manhattan, fresh figs in the Napa Valley and a whole lot more.

Ali was a Theatre Arts Major at Syracuse University, where she cooked gourmet delights based on tuna, pasta, and various interpretations of Ramen noodles. She left Syracuse to pursue a career in the theatre, returning to her beloved pierogies of the Lower East Side.

Ali moved from NYC to Philadelphia 1999 to further a career in event planning. In 2002 she jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, opening Bella, An American Bistro, a 52-seat restaurant, named for her late grandmother. Despite critical acclaim, Bella closed in late 2003.  She did a brief stint in the kitchen at Tria (YAY! Cheese!) before becoming PR maven for The Smoked Joint a Barbeque Experience where she had a whole lot of fun, sang karaoke and ate fantastic ‘cue.

Ali abandoned the world of restaurants for a few years to sell signs and graphics, which was pretty awful, though gave her time to cook, and cook and cook at home. Circumstances caused the company she was working with to close its doors in February of 2009. Choosing passion over practicality Ali has returned to the objective of a culinary life. She worked with Bebe’s Barbecue during their opening and is now at work on a food related writing project whilst serving at Le Virtu and developing a Personal Chef/Kitchen Keeping Business.

Ali is dedicated to the local food movement, and can be seen sniffing melons and sighing over baby eggplants at farmers markets around town. The menu for Open ChefAMe is a homage to her culinary heroines: Alice Waters, Julia Child, Marlena Speiler and Aunt Sandy, who taught her the joy of heirloom tomatoes.

Ali lives in South Philadelphia with her boyfriend Christian and their two enormous cats, Hank & Jerry; they are growing tomatoes, mint, figs and horseradish.

Bon Appetit

Meet Tim Crowe — IT meets food and fun

Posted by Jesse Middleton | Posted in Interviews and Bios | Posted on 17-07-2009

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Tim Crowe

Tim spent 10 years behind his computer as a programmer and social media consultant. As his hands and back twisted and he became more Gollum-like he realized he needed a new hobby. Around the same time he was getting into the slow food movement and after reading Kitchen Confidential and The Omnivore’s Dilemma he felt inspired. In the fall of 2008 he started attending culinary school at The Art Institute of Philadelphia. Food has become his obsession. You can see his culinary stylings on his cooking show Eating Crowe.

Interested in what Tim’s working on over at Eating Crowe?  We’ve included one of his episodes below for your viewing enjoyment.  We can’t wait to have him in the Open ChefAMe kitchen!

Sarah Feidt — An artist and foodie at number four

Posted by Jesse Middleton | Posted in Interviews and Bios | Posted on 17-07-2009

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We’re very excited for Sarah, one of our two chefs at the next Open ChefAMe, to be cooking for all of you.  Sarah FeidtShe has a menu of summery foods that will knock your socks off.  And if you’re the adventurous type, maybe you can join her on one of her wilderness trips the next time she’s not making a delectable meal.

Sarah is an artist, educated as a biologist/mathematician at Bryn Mawr College, trained as tech support for many years, and working now as the Creative Lead of XtraGlobex, a strategic business development firm in Philadelphia, and in her free time as a guide for the area’s largest adventure club, TerraMar Adventures. When she’s not consulting to businesses or leading groups into the PA wilderness, she spends her time in the flamenco or tango studio, at the archery or gun range, on a horse, standing in front of an easel, or sitting in front of a piano or computer. She will on occasion sleep, but given the option she would rather drink more coffee and keep going. This might be how she finds time to cook.

A foodie by nature, Sarah really started getting to know her kitchen when she began “clean eating” — removing all processed foods and substances from her diet. She quickly learned that she had to cook in order to sustain that lifestyle, and just as quickly learned she had to cook creatively to sustain her sanity. The spark caught, and Sarah has been increasingly inventive and enthusiastic about cooking and subjecting her friends (and now community) to her culinary whims ever since.

Hosted at Ava

Meet Alyssa — Your future Philly restauranteur

Posted by Jesse Middleton | Posted in Event Info, Interviews and Bios | Posted on 28-04-2009

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You’ve met Felicia,  the amazing writer and foodie, now meet Alyssa, our amazing past chef and future pastry-treat-maker.  She and Felicia will be guiding your night along with their culinary creations.

Alyssa Shilliday

She’s local, she’s fun and she’s going to knock your socks off with tasty food.

Alyssa Shilliday is currently enrolled in the pastry arts program at The Restaurant School to put the finishing touches on her natural culinary abilities.  Her interest in food and the restaurant industry started long ago.  Alyssa has worked on every front from catering, waitressing, and cooking to planning, managing, and purchasing.  In addition to her own independent catering of small events she has also worked for The Olive Garden, Iron Hill Brewery, World Café Live, Washington Square Restaurant, and Cuba Libré.  Her experiences at these restaurants as line cook, lead line cook, and Sous Chef have only intensified her desire to create dishes and menus of her own.

Alyssa is an alumnus of Temple University.  She and her husband Justin just bought their first home in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia in August of 2008.  Alyssa and Justin hope to soon open their own restaurant in the Philadelphia area — Keep your eyes open!!

Meet Felicia — The chef turned writer turned chef

Posted by Jesse Middleton | Posted in Event Info, Interviews and Bios | Posted on 28-04-2009

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Felicia D’AmbrosioNot only are we going to have great food, great drinks, awesome people and a fun time but our two chefs are highly talented individuals that will make this night a special one.  One of our chefs is Felicia D’Ambrosio, a writer for the City Paper:

Felicia D’Ambrosio is the child of lapsed Catholics, themselves the children of second-generation immigrants to Philadelphia: Italian, Irish, Polish. All of her family members are bad-ass cooks. (Except her dad, a neurologist who once baked a frozen pizza with the plastic still on it.)

Her Mom-Mom and Aunt Gina, both chefs, taught her to work both a stove and a room at a young age; her first job was catering weddings with them in Lancaster County. Since then, Felicia has had a long and infamous career in the restaurant industry, hoisting the tray at a Manayunk meet market, an artisan gelateria, and the smallest restaurant with the best view on Rittenhouse before finding her spiritual home with the Monk’s Café cartel.

Felicia writes for City Paper’s food and drinks blog, Meal Ticket, and when she’s not chained to her laptop you can find her feasting like a Roman at numerous hotspots, sucking up the last tomatoes of the season at Greensgrow Farms and pouring at the Belgian Café.