My real passion for food began during High School. I have a very vivid memory of passing Gristedes Market in Rye, New York, walking to the train station after school. I spotted the most perfect fresh artichokes in the window. To my friends' confusion, I announced I had to make a stop. After spending the last of my allowance on these lovely green thistles, I delivered them to my mother with great love and anticipation, begging her to prepare them for dinner… stuffed of course! It seems that ever since then I just can't pass up a perfect artichoke.
Ours was not the typical American family of the 1950s and 60s. Growing up, I thought everyone went regularly to the Metropolitan Opera, had at least 900 relatives, and took fried brain sandwiches to school for lunch. My parents took us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art many many times... but never to Yankee Stadium.
These early trips to the Met, as well as the influence of my parents, instilled in me a love for both art and music, resulting in my choice to study at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, in Philadelphia. The deciding factor was the option to study for a year in Rome, which my parents generously allowed and encouraged me to do. It was a life changing experience for me... but more about that later.
Celia during the restaurant years
Leaning toward museum work in my senior year at Tyler, I worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Print Club in Philadelphia. After graduation, I worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography in NYC. I moved to Charleston, South Carolina in the 1970s, and joined the staff of the Gibbes Museum of Art as Curator of Collections.
The restaurant at 49 Archdale Street
After a divorce years later, I turned to my love of cooking and started a private catering business, and in 1985, a small neighborhood Italian bistro. My daughter and I lived above the restaurant, and it felt like every night some of those 900 relatives showed up at our house for dinner.
When I closed the restaurant just prior to the millennium, I returned to my love of art, caring for The Tesoriere Collection, a private art collection at Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist Monastery on the banks of the Cooper River, outside of Charleston.
12 years later, I returned to the culinary scene, manufacturing my famous handmade lasagne, catering as a private chef, and teaching others to cook.
As I enter my retirement years, I'm doing more artwork, and finally getting around to writing that family cookbook and stories about other wonderful adventures I've had along the way!