Art for a cause, Top Pantry Chef, gifts for dad

Above, chef Matthew Glickert of Cardwell’s Plaza Frontenac competes in a Top Chef-style competition Sunday at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, as the audience looks on. Photo: Ellen Futterman

By Ellen Futterman, Editor


This item comes to you from the Light’s columnist emeritus Lois Caplan. She wants to make sure everyone knows about a show in honor of her dear friend, Carol Shapiro, from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday (June 16) at the Duane Reed Gallery, 4729 McPherson Ave. 

Carol is a lifetime lover of art and art history. She made it her mission to bring her enthusiasm for the arts to everyone she knew, leading art-focused trips abroad and spearheading all kinds of lectures and art classes through her “University of Carol,” as Lois called it. 

Unfortunately, Carol now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, which has made it virtually impossible for her to remember the pleasure art has brought her over the past 50 years. The show will be a testament to Carol and her passion as it exhibits roughly 150 pieces of her personal ceramic collection, which will be available for purchase. Proceeds will help fund Carol’s care (she is in a supervised nursing facility) and a portion will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association to further research and build awareness of this disease that affects nearly 5.5 million Americans.

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As Lois notes, Carol will not be in attendance but her beautiful collection — and her spirit — will.

Chefs in the pantry

The first annual Top Pantry Chef competition at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry on Sunday had its share of thrills and chills, including intermittent power outages, which slowed down some of the action.

Nevertheless, most who were there — and we’re talking a good 80 people or so — took it all in stride as they watched Chef Michael del Pietro of Sugo’s Spaghetteria, Chef Brad Hartman of Senior Plus Services and Chef Matthew Glickert of Cardwell’s Plaza Frontenac, whip up specialty dishes using a number of items regularly stocked at the Jewish pantry. Tastes were passed around and many in the audience had a chance to ask questions about the pantry as well as of the chefs. 

In the end, Chef Brad was declared winner for his crepes filled with chicken and pumpkin. Both the judges and the crowd cited his “excellent use” of the pantry products.

Faces in the crowd included Michael and Laura Silver (of the Harvey Kornblum Foundation, who served as one of the three judges), Michael and Carol Staenberg, Lou Albert, Steve and Mona Green, Barbara Cohn, Debbi Braunstein, Jan Abrams, Gary and Marilyn Ratkin, Karen Suroff, Jonathan Raskas and Freddie Steinbach. The free event netted roughly $70,000 for the Jewish food pantry through sponsorships.

Last-minute gifts for dad

Still looking for that perfect Father’s Day gift to celebrate dad on Sunday? Here are a few suggestions from your personal shopper:

• Tickets to see comedian Jerry Seinfeld in concert. Be among the first to snag a few when they go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday (June 16.) Seinfeld will be performing his stand-up act at the Fox Theatre, at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27. Tickets, which run from $50.50 to $175, will be available online at, all Metrotix locations, the Fox Theatre Box Office or 314-534-1111. 

• Head to Left Bank Books in the Central West End for a signed, autographed copy of one or both of these books by Jewish authors — “Giant of the Senate” by Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and/or “Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002” by humorist David Sedaris. Both retail for $28.

• A grilling class at Weber Academy located at the St. Louis Galleria. Some glasses are demonstration only; others interactive — my husband and sons took an interactive class on burger grilling over the holidays and had a blast. Learn how to properly grill cedar planked salmon and pizza on the grill from scratch, smoke a chicken or execute a surf and turf meal that comes our perfectly. Classes run about 2½ hours and include samples of what you prepare as well as the recipes. The cost varies depending on the class, but generally run from $45 to $85. Go to or call 314- 930-3838.