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STATEN Island, New York. For those interested in starting a small business, there are a few stories to inspire. At the 13th annual Uncorked Festival in Historic Richmond Town, three entrepreneurs did just that, all fueled by their particular passion for food.

Experienced Staten Island native business owners include Lorraine and Michael Delysia for Butter Me Up, Cucina Teresa aka Teresa Pignato-Rosenthal, and Glam Gardener NYC aka Aly Stoffo. Until now, their niches in the edible world have been formed by attending various festivals with tastings and culinary demonstrations. Here are their stories.

Incredible food guys

Michael and Lorraine Delysia sell Butter Me Up scented oil. Scenes from Taste Detectors at the Staten Island Museum, Saturday, Dec. 2, Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, Livingston (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri) (Staten Island Advance/Pamela C

BUTTER ME UP – 2022 Founders Award Winners

Lorraine and her husband Michael Delysia detail their journey in the world of food production.

Lorraine explained, “It all started in September 2016 when we tried to buy a subscription to the scented oil of the month for our nephew Joey Patches. After doing research, we found that it does not exist. We joked that we would create our own Oil of the Month club, and by November 2016, we decided to give it a try and began to butter everyone up!”

They started with four flavors that year. Now there are more than 30 of them, 15 of them in vegan styles and buns.

Delicia hosted festivals and county fairs. They debuted in Staten Island at the Advance Cookbook competition and on Uncorked.

Lorraine said: “Our first event was in Staten Island in March 2017 where we were very well received and we have been growing ever since. As we continued to grow, we outgrew the kitchen we shared with a friend and moved into our own 1,500-square-foot facility about a year ago where we spend a lot of time making butter and baking buns.”

The growing volume needed to sell at farmers’ markets, serve wholesale customers and produce wedding favors prompted the couple to invest in a van.

“These days you will see us driving around in our Maslomobile, so stop us when we pass by! We are very grateful for all the support we receive from our clients, family and friends,” said Lorraine.

Incredible food guys

Teresa Pignato-Rosenthal of Kuchina Teresa Gourmet Salad Dressings at Rolling Thunder Post Ride Events Chapter 2 New York Frankie “TowKar” Appice Memorial 3 Borough Running at the 246th Marine League Troop in Sunnyside. July 30, 2017 (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez). Staff Shot(Staten Island Advance/Pamela C

CUCINA TERESA, also known as Teresa Piñato-Rosenthal, has won The Founders Legacy Award and hosted Uncorked for 13 years.

Even before the days of the COVID quarantine, Teresa Piñato-Rosenthal prepared some delicious treats to showcase on Instagram and Facebook. She ended up taking her sous chef with her, her dog named Oliver.

Pignato-Rosenthal said: “My passion for cooking came from my grandmother Teresa, who watched her cook the most incredible Italian dishes. So at the age of 40, I entered a culinary school – the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in Manhattan.

The mother of three (now Nana) graduated in 2005 and worked in the restaurant business for 11 years. She now gives private cooking lessons, caters and works as a private chef. But in the rich life of a cook with versatile talents, the only thing she became famous for was her signature set of salad dressings – creamy balsamic vinaigrettes. Now Pignato-Rosenthal makes them and sells them at festivals and markets. A loyal member of Verrazano Kiwanis, she regularly volunteers for non-profit organizations. In her spare time, she works as an office manager for her husband’s plumbing company, Response Service Group, Inc.

“I love what I do,” she admitted.

Incredible food guys

Ellie Stoffo, a glamorous gardener, gives a presentation at Uncorked with tea and dipping oil made from wild herbs and plants. Pamela Silvestri(Staten Island Advance/Pamela C

GLAM GARDENER, also known as Eli Stoffo, is the recipient of the Pam Silvestri Award at Historic Richmond Town for the best use of local ingredients.

Elegant Ali Stoffo, dressed in a floral print dress, can drive the crowd into a frenzy by sampling teas and dipping oils made from local and/or organic herbs and products.

Stoffo is a collector, environmental educator and artist based in Staten Island. A Travis resident, she owns Glam Gardener NYC, a mission-driven business dedicated to selling wild and organic herb products, environmental education, and sustainable arts.

In 2019, she received her master’s degree in sustainable solutions from Arizona State University, where she taught at the university and studied food system solutions. Shortly thereafter, she moved home to Staten Island to begin work at a clean energy consulting company in Manhattan.

But the pandemic had other plans for her, and on Monday, March 16, she, like many other New Yorkers, found herself without a job and no idea what the future held for her.

At this turbulent time in world history, she has returned to the source of what inspired her to explore sustainability from the beginning—the sense of peace that comes from immersing herself in nature. She says, “It was at this time that I finally connected the dots between sustainability education, the community, the arts and advocacy.”

This eventually sowed the seeds for Glam Gardener NYC, so to speak. Today, she acts as an advocate for conservation, outdoor activities, and foraging in the Tristate area, hosting personal social events. Topics of conversation include learning about local food, gathering, gardening and protecting the environment. In April 2021, she organized a 500-person march to protect the Graniteville wetlands.

What is “forage”?

According to Stoffo, it will be “gathering wild plants for food and medicine.” In her work, she emphasizes the collection of invasive plants – flowers and greenery that are not native to our environment and are superior to native plants. She believes that collecting wild invasive plants can be a smart solution to both food security issues and our personal health, as many of them have medicinal properties.

When she recalls why she was inspired by this work, Stoffo says, “Staten Island’s greatest resource is our green spaces. We must treat these places like the gold they are. Learning from them, having a mutual relationship with them, giving to them and immersing themselves in them when the madness of the concrete jungle hits us. There is beauty in living a life that is so closely connected to nature, and I hope to show others that we can connect with nature, no matter how urban our environment may be.”

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