Harvest Kitchen Tour is a success

The decision to hold Harvest Kitchen Tour III was an easy one for the Board of Governors of the Chestnut Hill Center for Enrichment. Years I and II were successful, and guests seemed to enjoy and support them, so why not?

Then we were asked if we would like to have a preview party to celebrate the event. Not just an ordinary party, but one to be held in the newest home on Germantown Avenue. The home at Three East Gravers Lane – soon to be the residence of Richard Snowden and Fred Holzerman – became ours for one evening. So, Harvest Kitchen Tour 2014, became the Tour with a Twist!

The planning began in May – six homes with lovely kitchens were secured, six chefs from area restaurants, and sponsors (as many as we could get) were all on board.

On Thursday evening, Oct. 30, guests started streaming into the preview party where they sipped fine wines from Oregon, learned how to flip crepes and were able to explore all the rooms and terraces at Three East Gravers Lane.

Part Two: the tour started early on Saturday morning when volunteers picked up some 80 balloons and then placed a bouquet of them outside each of the houses. In addition, directional signs were secured so that guests could find their way. Finally, to mark each home, Philadelphia Horticultural Society placed at the front of each house a huge and beautiful pot of flowers. Thanks to PHA CEO Drew Becher for making the latter happen.

Just like last year, the Kitchen Tour came together in a huge and happy way – anyone who visited the kitchens could feel the palpable buzz among chefs, volunteers, home owners and the paying public. It happened only because many gave their time and energy to see it through.

The list of thank yous must begin with a big one to Richard Snowden and Fred Holzerman for sharing their home and allowing us to invite guests to get their first look!

At the top of the second list are our five generous sponsors, all of whom have supported us in our past endeavors. Thank you to Bowman Properties, our Presenting Sponsor; Chestnut Hill Hospital and Pennsylvania Trust, our Gold Sponsors; Chestnut Hill Hotel, our Silver Sponsor, and National Penn Bank and Valley Green Bank, our Bronze Sponsors for believing in us. Thanks to Evergreen Cheese for its delicious cheese plates.

The various committees met weekly in the months preceding the Tour. Thanks must go to the Steering Committee: Andrea Imperatore, Kate O’Neill, Eileen Newcomb, and Adeline Mandel. The Volunteers’ Committee was chaired by Kathy Shaifer and working with her were Lois Gaskins, and Eleanor Murdoch; thank you to the volunteers that this committee identified — approximately 60 willing workers, including CHCE board members.

Special thanks to Grace Stewart and Harry Spaeth who worked their iPhones and iPads to sell tickets via credit cards on the day of the Tour.

Captains were an essential part of the event, so thanks must go to Sue Davis, Janet Lochner, Nelia Rosqueta, Susan Bray, Madeleine Nist, and Jennifer Fanelli. Thank you to Joanne Dhody, graphic designer extraordinaire, who produced a signature Save the Date card, and an outstanding program; also to Kate O’Neill for being the liaison between chefs and homeowners and securing all the biographical and descriptive information and photos of houses and chefs that were needed for the brochure. Thanks to Cathy Glazer and Ilene Ogando Cohen for their early morning delivery of all directional signs and balloons, in the rain, I must add!

Thank you, as always, to the entire CHCE Board of Governors which was 100 percent supportive.

Chefs from six area restaurants and caterers were an integral part of the event. Kudos and thanks to Al Paris of Paris Bistro (who jumped in at the 11th hour when we needed him), Tracey Wolfson of Bacchus Market and Catering, Dan Salva and Glenn Bergman of Weavers’ Way Catering, John Arena of Chestnut Grill and Sidewalk Cafe, Laura Belmonte and Claudia Stemler of the Brunettes’ Bookshop Bakery, and Chip Roman of Mica.

There were flower arrangements in each home, designed to match the table setting and/or decor. Thanks to Florum Flowers, Laurel Hill Gardens, Robertson’s Flowers, and Falls Flowers.

Our ticket pickup site was Stagecrafters Theater – thanks to the board of directors for allowing us to use their lovely and centrally located space.

Thanks to Mary Zell, executive director and Jennifer Eastman, assistant director of the CHCE, for always being there when needed. Of course, thanks to those who came to enjoy and taste their way through the event. It truly was a community coming together!

Finally and most importantly, there is a huge thank you due to the homeowners (all 6 of them) who gave us their kitchens and their homes.

Now, get ready for Harvest Kitchen Tour, 2015, because here we come!!!

Marilyn M. Paucker

President CHCE

Board of Governors

We’re respectful of the elderly

I am in my 80’s, white-haired and bent. Cindy Woods’ article in the Nov. 6 Local is far removed from my experience. People could not be more courteous to me. They open doors, hold doors, stop their cars offering to drive me home when I am seen walking from the Acme with a bundle.

Recently I lost my balance attempting to pull something from the trunk of my car. A vehicle pulled over, and the driver came to lift me. My husband slipped in my neighbor’s driveway, and a passing car pulled over to lift him.

On the occasion when I can’t find an item in the supermarket, the person behind the desk will not only tell me where to find what I’m looking for but will call someone to take me to the proper shelf.

If I am standing on a long line at Weavers Way Co-op on Carpenter Lane, someone in front of me will offer a spot in front of him or want to walk me to the front of the line for the checker to take me next. Since I am still able, I refuse these kindnesses.

I’ve observed before that because of the diversity of people in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill, neighbors are especially respectful of each other. Mt. Airy won recognition as the most livable community in Philadelphia. We try harder.

Maggie Wollman

Mt. Airy

Fond memories of Rabbi Prinz

I was amazed and thrilled to see that a documentary film will be shown about Rabbi Yoachim Prinz, the compassionate, brilliant, approachable and charismatic man who was my rabbi and a personal friend of the family while I was growing up in Newark N. J. (“Mt. Airy native to debut film of legendary activist,” Nov. 6)

His oratorical ability had people from all walks flocking to the Temple. He officiated at my wedding in 1963, two months before he spoke in Washington, D.C., when Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech.”

I attended Temple B’nai Abraham, which was on 10th Street, across the street from where we lived, for many years, culminating in my being valedictorian of our Hebrew School graduating class in 1959. I was glued to Rabbi Prinz’ sermons because they dealt with social issues, justice, tolerance and standing with those who were fighting for equality and civil rights.

The honor of being chosen valedictorian of my Hebrew High School class was bestowed upon me, and because I was an atheist as far back as I could remember, I felt that I wasn’t fit to represent the class. I broke out in hives struggling with what I thought was hypocrisy but also with the fact that I had fulfilled all the academic and service qualifications.

Time to talk with Rabbi Prinz, who told me in essence that it was who I was as a person, what was in my heart and not what I believed in or didn’t that was important. That treating others the way I wanted to be treated and imparting kindness was what mattered. That I had earned the honor, that I was to get rid of the hives and go up there and do it! I did.

I can’t wait to see the film. I am so fortunate to have known this great and humble man.

Judy Rubin

Mt. Airy

Not surprised by unread culture minister

Re: “Do you care if Fleur Pellerin does not read books?

A Ministry of Culture is part of the European practice of providing a jobs program for the unemployed with master’s degrees. Keeps them employed but on a leash. Ms. Pellerin will rule with the bloodless MBA philosophy that cares nothing for the arts but uses public funds to strengthen the grip of her sponsors. I think the chaotic American approach gets more money down to the arts than the European approach. The accompanying chaos provides more bang for the buck. Recent examples locally: The Barnes and Woodmere.

Anyway, thanks for the continuing entertainment, education, and advocacy. It adds to the livability of this community, and most of us look forward to reading what you write.

James E. Barrett