May 31, 2023

Bette Aschkenasy Lunch & Learn 2016

The Annual Bette Aschkenasy Lunch & Learn was held Tuesday, April 15, 2016 at Temple Beth Ami.



Our three speakers told us what goes on behind the screen with their organizations.

20160315LL_3Peter Pagonis was our first speaker. He told why he left Greece, went to Canada and then to New York where he worked in restaurants and learned what gefilte fish was. Then on to Washington, DC where he enrolled in college and kept working. But then he opened his own restaurant and went on to get degrees, a wife, and more restaurants, including, “Mykonos Grill”.  He described how he determines what to order and how he treats his staff with respect which is how he has kept his loyal employees.




20160315LL_520160315LL_4Leslie Poyourow appeared with her beautiful cake. Baking cakes for more than 18 years, Leslie, DC native, founder, owner, and designer cake decorator of Fancy Cakes by Leslie in Bethesda, Maryland, has been successfully treating her customers to edible works of art. Leslie’s wedding cakes, birthday cakes, cupcakes and party cakes are award-winning creations that have earned her national and local praise, from the Today Show, where Leslie was chosen winner of the “Hometown Wedding,” to Washingtonian Magazine and dozens more in between. With pastries that please the palette, delightfully decadent desserts and cupcakes confections crafted from all natural ingredients, Leslie has used her passion to create edible visions and delicious conversation pieces. She recalled how while working coordinating contacts during the week, she was also baking at home. Finally she decided she would bake full time. She now has a staff of about 25 – some of whom are learners and produces about 30 cakes a week in her shop in Bethesda. She takes her staff to cooking shows in which she participates so they can enjoy the experience. Even many children come into the shop knowing about the different frostings because of watching these shows or seeing the items on the internet.

20160315LL_6Mark Bergel told of how when substituting for a friend delivering food he saw such poverty, he felt he had to do something to help the people he had met. He eventually created “A Wider Circle” which teaches people work skills, how to produce a resume, how to interview for jobs, and provides clothes for the work week. He also collects these clothes, furniture and household goods for those in need.  A van for “A Wider Circle” was parked at Beth Ami where members brought slightly used professional clothes to donate.



The Boxed Lunches by Bageltowne Deli were efficiently distributed and  then enjoyed.










A lovely and informative day was had by all.


Co- Presidents: Barbara Fayne and Honey Edell
Suzanne Giacalone, Joan Bardach, Lynne Kirshon
Proceeds to BNC Scholarship Fund


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