Sunday, September 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Saturday, September 20, 2014, 10:57 AM
Chef Walter Staib at City Tavern, Second and Walnut Streets. (DANYA HENNINGER)

We always hear about the shiny, new restaurants. This is one in a series about the Philadelphia area's more established dining establishments and the people behind them. 

Chef Walter Staib probably knows more about the history of Philadelphia food than any person alive, but he isn’t from Philly — he wasn’t even born in the United States. It was his native Germany where his four-decades-long career began, but when he first visited Philadelphia, he fell in love with a woman (who became his wife), and then fell in love with the city.

Staib made Philly his home base, the place he came back to between frequent trips around the world for his global restaurant consulting company.

POSTED: Friday, September 19, 2014, 2:11 AM
Georges Perrier puffing a celebratory stogie after unloading Le Bec-Fin in March 2012. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Since divesting himself of Le Bec-Fin two years ago, chef Georges Perrier has been riding a victory lap of sorts, turning up here and there to cook, kibitz and smoke cigars with some of the "boys" he mentored over the years.

Now, six of those chefs are getting together to host a collaborative dinner to honor Perrier.

Al Paris, who was chef at Circa (which in the early 1990s was across Walnut Street from Le Bec-Fin), is organizing and hosting the event, Nov. 11 starting at 6 p.m., at Paris Bistro in the Chestnut Hill Hotel. 

POSTED: Thursday, September 18, 2014, 9:52 AM
Founders Richard Vague (left) and Audrey Taichman (second from left) at a Feastival event. (Matthew J Photography LLC)

More than five years ago, Richard Vague - an entrepreneur, deep-thinker and chairman of what is now FringeArts - was musing about the relationship between the performing arts and the culinary arts.

He had reason to muse. The culinary arts were doing quite well in Philadelphia, while the performing arts - especially five years ago - were taking a financial hit.

He turned to one of his best friends, restaurateur Audrey Claire Taichman.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 1:42 PM

One side-effect of the recent pizza boom is the heightened demand for good pizzamakers.

As Frank Nattle of the Phoenixville pizza destination Vecchia (249 Bridge St.) prepares for the imminent opening of his branch in downtown Wayne, he has been training a bunch of people to make Neapolitan pizzas. Nattle is many things, but he cannot be in two places at once. He's been working out of Phoenixville, as the oven in Wayne is not yet ready.

Nattle says it kills him to throw away good pizza. So from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, Nattle plans to give away hundreds of margheritas that his trainees will bake in Phoenixville. 

POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 1:41 PM
Stroll along Baltimore Avenue in University City for some great deals on Thursday, Sept. 18 (photo by Ben Tran)

What do you get when you mix the Philadelphia area’s top chefs, one dollar bills, and tons of beer? The food events in Philadelphia this week in which you don’t want to miss out on.

Although the Eagles are not playing at home this evening, there’s a big deal going on in the stadium. The Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society’s 10th Annual Chef’s Dinner for PAWS is set to take place on Monday, Sept. 15 at Lincoln Financial Field (1 Lincoln Financial Way) in South Philadelphia. Beginning at 6 p.m., local chefs from Philadelphia and surrounding areas create a three-course food-and-wine pairing for 12 guests each. Proceeds from this event go towards PAWS. Looking for a table? Email for information.

You can never go wrong with a cocktail for dinner, especially when a distiller pairs up the right match for the evening. Sixth-generation rum maker, Roberto Serralles will make a visit to Bar Ferdinand  (1030 N Second St.) on Wednesday, Sept. 17 in Northern Liberties for a special four-course Rum Distiller Dinner featuring special dishes with cocktails from Serralles rum, Don Q. The dinner is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. and costs $50 per person. Dishes to expect are salpicon of octopus and mussels, trout, pork belly, and dessert.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 1:11 PM

Lynn Hoffman remembers his first beer. No, seriously.

“I was about 14,” he says. “And I started to work out the mechanics of sneaking an underage beer. Back then, we had what was what was called ‘the older brother technology.’ ”

So, after enlisting the help of a family friend named Barry, Hoffman had his first brew in hand: Knickerbocker, formerly the official beer of the New York Giants. Perhaps not surprisingly, he hated it, deciding ultimately to stick to sneaking some red wine here and there at home.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 12:50 AM
Union Taco, at the former Tiffin etc. at 712 W. Girard Ave.
Chef Nick Farina will observe National Guacamole Day on Tuesday, Sept. 16 by offering samples of his signature strawberry habanero guacamole at his two Union Taco locations (712 W. Girard Ave. and 4229 Main St, in the city and Verdad Restaurant & Tequila Bar,  at 818 W. Lancaster Ave. in Bryn Mawr between 5 and 9 p.m.
POSTED: Monday, September 15, 2014, 12:17 AM
Kevin McMunn and Marybeth Brown of Catherine's, then and now.

We always hear about the shiny, new restaurants. This is one in a series about the Philadelphia area's more established dining establishments and the people behind them. 

Two years before they got married, Marybeth Brown and Kevin McMunn got hitched. That is, they opened a restaurant together. It wasn’t altogether surprising, considering they’d worked alongside each other for over a decade — Brown was just 16 when she began waitressing at the West Chester bar where McMunn was a cook — and had hit it off right away.

Fifteen years and a move to Unionville later, their American restaurant Catherine’s is still going strong. Even more impressively (or perhaps essentially?), the business continues to evolve. Brown now operates an art gallery/retail shop adjacent to the BYOB, and obtained a license to vend a trio of customer favorites at farmer’s markets around Chester County.

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