oats n' notes

Food & lifestyle from the the granola factory bakery

The Authors

Suzanne Virgilio

Don’t be fooled by the name.  I’m an Irish girl at heart who married and Italian – Russian and then together discovered Thai food ~ YUM!  But first let me back up to the beginning of this “food journey.”  It all started with when I was seven with my easy bake oven…

This year our country celebrated the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon.  More than once did I hear news commentators ask, “Where were you? “  I can honestly tell you I was in my family’s kitchen making Hershey’s peanut butter fudge, while the rest of my family was gathered around the television.

Fast forward to college where I majored in Home Economics Education. Today, it’s called Family & Consumer Science. I was fortunate to land a teaching job right out of college. Oh, but the journey was just beginning.

My husband, Robert, and I supplemented our income by working in restaurants.  We would finish our shifts and often talk about how we’d one day run our own restaurant.  All of that changed when we took a vacation to Ireland, and stayed in our first bed and breakfast. Ah, the final piece of the puzzle!  We decided to return home and open our own B&B in Bethlehem, Pa. Opening The Bethlehem Inn allowed us to meet people and cook for them, but still give us the ability to be in our own home and raise a family of three sons.

From the start of running the B&B, we knew we had to have a unique breakfast offering.  After much trial and error, our Bethlehem Inn Honey Pecan Granola was born.  Throughout the years numerous guests had asked to purchase our granola to take home with them.  We finally decided to open The Granola Factory Bakery and were very fortunate to get our granola into Wegmans.

Throughout this time my passion for cooking continued to grow, but now was fueled by my family’s enthusiasm.  I know how blessed I am to be able to make a career of my passion, and that my family shares that passion is a double blessing.  This past June I retired from my 35-year teaching job. Though I will miss my students I am looking forward to continuing my food journey seeing where it will lead The Granola Factory Bakery.

 

Calvin Virgilio

I have been around food and hospitality since the I was born and raised in my parents’ bed and breakfast, The Bethlehem Inn. I graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in accounting, and soon realized that though I enjoyed business, I loved food! Luckily, my family owned a bakery, and I was able to join the business of food in 2011.

When I’m not baking granola or writing about food, I enjoy running, reading and playing tennis with my wife, Lisa. I love cooking anything that simmers on a stove and fills the kitchen with a delicious scent, such as a homemade pasta sauce or braised short ribs. My favorite time of the year to cook is  the winter, when comfort foods are in season and leftovers are plentiful.

 

Dea Castrejon

Hi Y’all! I am a native California girl, turned Texas lady, and now, I am proud to call myself an east coast Mrs.!

In my humble opinion, my interest in all things food is sort of inherent, because I grew up eating the best.  Both of my parents are wonderful cooks.  From my mother’s tender stuffed flank steak drizzled with cream sherry sauce, to my father’s buttery Greek rice pilaf. I think it is safe to say that my brother and I were spoiled daily.

My initial interest in cooking and baking widened after I left home for school at UCLA.  I was fortunate enough to play soccer during my four years of college, and it was during this time that I learned how proper nutrition can influence peak physical performance.  As a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach, my zeal for fitness and a healthy lifestyle has continued and still remains such an important aspect of my life.

Although these pastimes have certainly shaped my enthusiasm for food, it is my newest role as a wife to my sweet and handsome husband, who has been the best motivation for me to jump full force into my cooking and baking dreams (or, it was just the fact that this Greek girl desperately needed to learn a thing or two about making Spanish-inspired dishes for her man!)

In all honesty, one of my biggest passions is to serve and provide for others, and my favorite means to do so is through food.  I still have so much to learn, but I am excited to share my ideas and stories with you!

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