Chefs putting new spins on traditional eats and giving back to the community

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Monday, April 10, 2023
Chefs putting new spins on old eats & giving back | FYI Philly
Hosts Alicia Vitarelli and Ducis Rodgers host FYI Philly with a tour of food halls and chefs giving back.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Foodiehall delivers big with multiple menus on one order

Foodiehall might be the solution to everyone getting what they want when it's time for takeout.

With world-class chef Sylva Senat at the helm, almost 10 different concepts send out dishes from one high-tech kitchen that was built solely for takeout and delivery.

Cuisines cover every taste, from tacos and pizza, to mac-and-cheese and Asian varieties.

Also available, for the first time outside of Philadelphia, are items from Geno's Steaks.

Foodiehall is located in Cherry Hill, with expansion to other towns in the works.

Foodiehall | Instagram | Facebook

1931 Olney Avenue, Suite 200, Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08003


Philly Black chefs collaborate to form Everybody Eats campaign

At Vittles Food Hall in Chester, you can get breakfast at Ray's Diner, grab a comfort food lunch at N8RDS Family Kitchen and even get a discounted haircut and style.

It's also the home base for Everybody Eats Philly, a collaboration of five Black chefs who came together at the height of the pandemic, less than three days after the death of George Floyd.

In the beginning, they set up folding tables in vacant lots, handing out chef-prepared meals along with essentials like toiletries, diapers, and pet food.

Now they've established a corporate catering business, cooking everything from enchiladas to shawarma, with soul food always at the heart of it.

Money raised through the business feeds into the non-profit, enabling the chefs to continue doing pop-ups to give back to the community.

Every Tuesday, they partner with Philabundance and Buckner's Giving Tree for a give back at Vittles Food Hall.

The chefs have been nationally recognized for their cooking. Stephanie Willis competed on Master Chef. Malik Ali and Aziza Young were on Chopped. Aziza, aka Chef Z, also did a stint on Hell's Kitchen, and she's a personal chef for professional athletes, including Eagles vet Brandon Graham.

But their primary motivation is their mission. And in the battle against hunger, they're always looking for helping hands and giving hearts.

Every year the chefs do a big popup for Juneteenth. Last year they fed 2000 people at Malcolm X Park in West Philadelphia and partnered to give away free sneakers to kids.

This year they're hoping to do even more and looking for volunteers and a food truck.

Everybody Eats Philly | Facebook | Instagram

Chef Malik Ali | Instagram

For bookings: Email

Chef Aziza Young | Instagram

For bookings: email

Chef Stephanie Willis | Instagram

Vittles Food Hall |Facebook | Instagram

801 Sproul St, Chester, PA 19013


N8RDS Family Kitchen | Facebook | Instagram

Chef Marcu brings culinary talent to food insecurity fight

Marcuz James is known in Philadelphia culinary circles as Chef Marcu.

His business, Palate Marcu: International Kitchen, does private and corporate events for small groups.

He offers a curated approach to each event, choosing everything from the decor to the dinnerware.

He specializes in Senegalese cuisine, as well as flavors and dishes from the Caribbean.

As a transgender man, he started his business being the change he wanted to see, recalling the days when he could not find a chef to mentor under with similar experiences.

In addition to his events business, Chef Marcu is one of the community chefs at Double Trellis Food Initiative - a non-profit that prepares meals for delivery to community fridges throughout the city, helping to end food insecurity in Philadelphia.

Palate Marcu: International Kitchen | Instagram | Facebook

Double Trellis Food Initiative | Instagram | Facebook

Gass and Main brings elevated American fare to Haddonfield

Dane DeMarco is expanding their footprint with a new restaurant Gass and Main in Haddonfield.

This comes just over a year after opening BurgerTime in Audubon.

While BurgerTime was DeMarco's "fun in a bun" style restaurant with quirky takes on burgers and dogs, Gass and Main highlights a more serious side of the kitchen.

The menu features DeMarco's take on more traditional items. The Nashville Hot uses oyster mushrooms instead of chicken.

The Salisbury steak features locally sourced bison and the "World's Best Hot Dog" is made with Wagyu beef. The signature dessert has a sparkler lit on top as it's delivered tableside.

DeMarco partnered with their sister to open the space. The 36-seat dining room is decorated with family photos, family heirlooms and original artwork by DeMarco's father.

The BYO is named in honor of where Dane married their wife in Las Vegas.

Gass & Main | Facebook | Instagram

7 Kings Court, Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Chon Tong has Thai eats you won't find anywhere else in Philly

At Chon Tong Thai Kitchen & Dessert, you can try dishes that owner Thidarat, aka Grace, Teekabud says are offered everywhere in Thailand.

There are desserts like kanom tom- rice flour balls with a sweet coconut filling, Thai banana steamed in coconut milk, and Thong Yip-egg yolks boiled in syrup and then hand shaped into a flower.

The floral eggs are served in individual cups, traditionally at weddings and other celebrations for good luck.

Grace came to Philadelphia in 2019 after graduating from college in Bangkok with a degree in economics. She wanted to learn English but, once here, she says she noticed a distinct void in Philadelphia's dining scene.

There was no place to get the authentic Thai desserts she'd grown up eating.

So she successfully pitched her mother on the idea of staying in the States and opening a restaurant.

Grace's great, great, grandmother had been a chef for the fifth King of Siam in the late 1800s. Chon Tong features her recipes.

There are six desserts on the menu along with some lesser-known Thai entrees, like fried mussel pancake, vegan corn salad with Thai chili, pork hot pot, spicy chicken wings and seafood and rice noodles made pink by fermented red tofu.

Along with opening a business, Grace also met her husband and the two just welcomed a baby, along with the new business.

The name, Chon Tong means golden spoon, which signifies prosperity, specifically inherited wealth, much like the American phrase "born with a silver spoon."

Chon Tong Thai Kitchen & Dessert | Website | Instagram

1439 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA 19102


Noelle Blizzard created a home office unlike most during the pandemic.

In it, she created her home business, New June Bakery, after turning to baking as therapy while she was home from work.

That therapy turned into an obsession. She learned everything she could about the business, baked for friends and family and then provided baked goods for nonprofit fundraisers.

All that experience led her to start her own business featuring all kinds of cakes.

Blizzard worked in marketing for 13 years before becoming a baker.

Her most recent job at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society inspired some of her designs featuring floral elements.

Her family has a history in the food business; her mom is an avid baker and her grandfather was a Las Vegas chef who served Frank Sinatra tableside.

She does online ordering through her website and Instagram pages and clients can pick up orders at her home. For celebration cakes with three or more tiers she does delivery and set up.

New June Bakery | Facebook | Instagram

Brewerytown, Philadelphia, PA

London-born shoe designer runs exclusive boutique on Fabric Row

If you're searching for one-of-a-kind shoes, make your next stop BUS STOP Boutique, where founder Elena Brennan's shoe designs will set you apart from the crowd.

She uses unique materials, like cow hair, on shoes in her Tie Dye collection.

She has a shoe made of recycled fish skin that she says her customers have named "the mermaid shoe," which has a sustainable aspect to it.

"I like to do things a little bit differently, I'm not your conventional shoe designer," said Brennan.

London-born Brennan moved to the United States in 1985, working in advertising for 27 years before deciding to make a change.

She officially opened BUS STOP Boutique on Fabric Row in Philadelphia's Queen Village neighborhood in April 2007.

Brennan carries a lot of European designers, but in 2015 she also started designing. She launched her own BUS STOP X shoe brand with limited edition and exclusive items.

Her shoes are only available for purchase in her boutique and online through her website.

In addition to shoes, she also carries accessories at the boutique, such as handbags, socks and hats.

BUS STOP Boutique | BUS STOP X Shoes

727 S. 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Jimmy Buffet's 'Escape to Margaritaville' coming to Walnut Street Theatre

Walnut Street Theatre transports audiences to the Caribbean with Jimmy Buffet's 'Escape to Margaritaville.'

"It's about people that come to this island, to the resort, to escape real life," says Lisa Stevens, director and choreographer for this performance.

Audiences will feel like they're on the island too - enjoying the sun and beach and thinking about good times.

"There's a lot of Jimmy Buffett songs in the show," says music director Chris Burcheri.

He says the songs cover the whole span of Buffet's career, so audiences can expect to hear classic Buffet songs like 'Margaritaville,' 'Cheeseburger in Paradise,' 'Fins' and 'Volcano.'

The musical tells the story of Tully, a beach bum type who has left real life behind to work at Margaritaville. Tully's buddy, Brick, bartends there and assists him in wooing ladies.

But Rachel, a career-minded tourist, changes Tully.

There's some romance, humor, and fun moments throughout the show.

"It is a homage to Jimmy Buffett's music," says Stevens. "It's gonna be a fun night for everybody."

Jimmy Buffet's 'Escape to Margaritaville runs March 28-April 30 at the Walnut Street Theatre.

Jimmy Buffet's 'Escape to Margaritaville' | Tickets

The Walnut Street Theatre

825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107


The Center City Jazz Festival is back for the first time since the pandemic, with five venues along the Sansom Street corridor participating from 1-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 22.

There are 20 artists in all. A ticket purchase allows you to bounce from club to club listening to different sounds. Festival Founder Ernest Stuart books artists from all over but says it's primarily a showcase for Philadelphia's amazing artists."

Center City Jazz Festival | Website

Saturday, April 22, 1-7 p.m.


Franky Bradley's, 1320 Chancellor St.

Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St.

Fergie's Pub (Upstairs), 1214 Sansom St.

TIME Restaurant, 1315 Sansom St.

Leda's, 1224 Chestnut St.

Luk Fu Cherry Blossom Festival | Website |Instagram

Through April 16th

Live! Casino & Hotel, 900 Packer Avenue, Philadelphia Pa. 19148