Everyone is abuzz about the new PHS Pops Up garden on the vacant lot at 20th and Market streets in Center City Philadelphia. This garden raises awareness for City Harvest, a PHS initiative that provides fresh, locally grown food to those in underserved communities.
Six highly respected chefs are lending their talents to this cause. Joining the project are Daniel Stern of R2L, Guillermo Tellez of Square 1682, Chris Scarduzio of Table 31, Michael Schulson of Sampan, Marcie Turney of Barbuzzo, and Lynn Rinaldi of Paradiso, all of whom will create special dishes using the garden’s bounty and donate proceeds back to City Harvest.
Throughout the summer we’ll share delicious recipes from these accomplished chefs. In the meanwhile, check out their impressive bios after the jump. And thanks to the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), Philly Homegrown, and the Center City District for their help in promoting City Harvest.
R2L – Daniel Stern
With an eye to the future, Chef Daniel Stern updates traditional American flavors with a modern twist. A self-taught chef, Stern has spent his culinary career in America’s top kitchens. He worked closely with the nation’s leading chefs – Rocco DiSpirito at Dava, Gray Kunz at the St. Regis Hotel, Daniel Boulud at Daniel, Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Mercer Kitchen – and was executive chef at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia.
Ready for restaurant kitchen(s) of his own, he launched Daniel Stern Restaurants in late 2005. In five years’ time, it would grow to include a collection of culinary experiences – Gayle, Rae, and now MidAtlantic and R2L – that blends bold cuisine with dynamic spaces. MidAtlantic, a modern yet rustic neighborhood tap room in University City, nods to the culinary roots and bold flavors of Philadelphia and the region. R2L, a sleek, sophisticated restaurant and private event space soaring 37 floors above the city at Two Liberty Place, features world-class creative American cuisine.
Chef Stern has received much acclaim, including: Food & Wine’s Best Restaurant Dish in Philadelphia in 2006 for his Veal Stew at Gayle; inclusion in Esquire’s Best New Restaurants 2007 for Rae; recognition by Bon Appetit for one of the country’s Best Daily Specials in 2010 for his Mushroom Meatloaf at MidAtlantic; and inclusion in Gayot.com’s list of Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. for R2L in 2011.
Square 1682 – Guillermo Tellez
As the executive chef of Square 1682, Chef Guillermo Tellez is marrying the rich flavors of his 20 years of experiences and travels into different patterns and tastes. Far-flung accents and techniques mix in surprising fashion to create a delicious coming together of continents in tastefully brilliant dining. Born in Mexico, Tellez recalls the colors and aromas that flavored his mother’s kitchen and his neighborhood: homemade breads and pastries, chilies and vegetables at the market.
From the famed Charlie Trotter Empire to Striped Bass to Philadelphia’s celebrated Starr Restaurant Organization, Tellez has a well-traveled background and was named the first winner of the James Beard Foundation’s Felipe Rojas-Lombardi Award of Achievement for Hispanic Chefs. Across the menu, Tellez demonstrates a deeply rooted commitment to quality, freshness and eco-sound culinary practices. Each dish is handcrafted using sustainable and organic ingredients, from local seasonal produce to free-range meats and ocean-friendly seafood.
Table 31 – Chris Scarduzio
Chef and Proprietor Chris Scarduzio debuted the highly anticipated Table 31, located in the new Comcast Center, in May 2008. Set in Philadelphia’s tallest building, Table 31 has grown from a steakhouse-bistro to a sophisticated and soulful Italian eatery serving only the freshest seafood dishes, Abruzzese-inspired homemade pastas, and the finest selections of USDA prime steaks and chops.
These flavorful Italian favorites come naturally to Scarduzio, who grew up in a Philadelphia row home with 16 family members helping to prepare many family meals. After culinary school and working in Hawaii, Scarduzio came back to Philadelphia to the Ritz Carlton’s Grill Room, where he led the restaurant that was named one of the top 25 in the country by Conde Nast Traveler. Next, he met Georges Perrier and opened Brasserie Perrier. Wanting to create his own restaurant, Scarduzio introduced a new style of dining to the Atlantic City market with Mia in 2006. Named Atlantic City’s “Best New Restaurant” by Philadelphia Magazine, this success fueled Scarduzio to develop a diverse range of restaurant concepts that would redefine the genres for today’s diners.
Scarduzio oversees every element of each new project, from concept creation to design and décor to menu development and staff training, cementing his role as gifted chef and talented entrepreneur. This summer he will introduce Scarduzio’s in the Showboat Casino/House of Blues in Atlantic City, a steakhouse and sushi bar with the ultimate ultra lounge to hang out after dinner.
Sampan – Michael Schulson
Executive Chef and restaurateur Michael Schulson is the charismatic chef and owner of Sampan, an intimate contemporary Asian restaurant in Center City Philadelphia, and Izakaya, a modern Japanese pub in Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. Schulson is also the face, name and creator of a popular line of boutique frozen appetizers from www.AppetizersToGo.com.
A gifted chef with a knack for sharing his hard-won knowledge of Asian culture and cuisine in a friendly, approachable way, Schulson makes frequent print and television appearances. He has starred on three television series: TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off, Style network’s Pantry Raid, and Discovery Channel’s Go Ahead, Make My Dinner. He has also appeared as a guest on the Today Show, Martha Stewart Show, Live! with Regis and Kelly, The View, Rachel Ray and the Tyra Banks Show. He has been featured in a wide range of publications, from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to the cover of Food Arts. For more information on Schulson and his many exciting projects, please visit www.michaelschulson.com.
Barbuzzo, Bindi, Lolita – Marcie Turney
As one of Philadelphia’s most prominent and ambitious entrepreneurs, Chef Marcie Turney has worked for nearly a decade alongside partner Valerie Safran to transform the once-desolate 13th Street neighborhood into what has become known as the trendy Midtown Village. Today, the couple’s three restaurants in the neighborhood, Barbuzzo, a Mediterranean kitchen and bar, Lolita a modern Mexican BYOB, and Bindi a gracious Indian BYOB, are counted among Philadelphia Magazine’s “Top 50 Restaurants,” and their gourmet prepared food market, Grocery, and two lifestyle boutiques are thriving.
“Ever since we moved into this neighborhood in 2002, we’ve dreamed of building 13th Street into a lively corridor of restaurants, shops and cafes,” says Turney. “I couldn’t be more proud to have had a hand in creating the vibrant culture that exists here today.” Her menus bring regional specialties to the forefront, incorporating artisanal local ingredients into both classic and innovative preparations, with results that have critics across Philadelphia and the country taking note. Since opening in September 2010, Barbuzzo earned a coveted “Three Bells: Excellent” review from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In addition to her work as executive chef at each of their three acclaimed restaurants, Turney has also created her own signature line of chocolates, Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates, which are sold online and at their lifestyle boutique, Verde. The chocolates have even garnered recognition from Oprah Magazine , which praised the “surprisingly delicious” combinations that “are inspired by global cuisine.”
Paradiso – Lynn Rinaldi
Lynn Rinaldi, entrepreneur/restaurant owner and chef, combined both the flavors of native South Philadelphia and a career in front of the house hospitality to create a classic neighborhood establishment. Paradiso is the second restaurant under Rinaldi’s command, but the first that is all her own. Impeccable taste in design and a natural creative flair with each individual plate makes the experience a memorable evening for her guests.
Previously Rinaldi ran the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts’ café for nine years. During that time she graduated with a culinary degree from the Restaurant School of Philadelphia. Growing up cooking in her mother’s kitchen inspired Rinaldi at an early age.
Stylistically, Paradiso is a modern take on traditional Italian cuisine. Instantly a niche in South Philly, Rinaldi’s business captured the essence of the area in a trying time for small-scale commerce. Rinaldi plants her own roof-top garden above the restaurant, providing healthy, fresh ingredients for her fantastic dishes.