Fashionable, culinary Story tees off in Chestnut Hill

by Len Lear
Posted 10/29/20

Barbara Story, who has lived in a variety of homes in Chestnut Hill and Fort Washington and who moved 10 times in 12 years (“If you really want me to recount each home, it will take some …

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Fashionable, culinary Story tees off in Chestnut Hill

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Barbara Story, who has lived in a variety of homes in Chestnut Hill and Fort Washington and who moved 10 times in 12 years (“If you really want me to recount each home, it will take some time”) and had a career as a professional chef in Boston and New York, now has her own high-end golf-inspired clothing firm called “Itz a Stitch.” She will be bringing her products in a trunk show to J. McLaughlin, 8401 Germantown Ave., on Friday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Fifteen percent of the proceeds and a set of golf clubs will be donated to First Tee, an international youth development organization with a chapter at the Walnut Lane Golf Club in Roxborough. First Tee, begun in 1997, introduces the game of golf to young people through after-school and in-school programs.

Story, who when asked her age, replied, “I don't answer that question for anyone,” had quite a circuitous journey to get to this station in life. Born in Los Alamos, New Mexico (known primarily as the home of the Manhattan Project, where the nation's top scientists produced the world's first atomic bomb during World War II), she went to public school there and later graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in music history and literature in 1984.

Story then did an about-face and attended the legendary La Varenne Culinary School in Paris, then cooked professionally for the next 10 years at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square, Boston, and then in Manhattan at the Drake Hotel with world-famous chef/entrepreneur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who has an eponymous restaurant in the New Four Seasons Hotel in center city Philadelphia as well as 38 others throughout the world.

Story proceeded to manage a restaurant in Greenwich, Connecticut and was then hired to run public and private events at the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium. She wound up running the centennial for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages five wildlife parks and over 100 wildlife conservation projects around the world.

The golf connection developed, however, when Story and her ex-husband owned the Garrison Golf Course in New York State for a short time. “The first tee overlooks the Hudson River at West Point,” she explained. “There is no better view in the fall when the leaves are changing! We had hoped to develop the surrounding acreage by building lots on five-plus acres, but unbeknownst to us, a huge foundation and several members of the family behind the foundation owned land and homes in the immediate environs.

“We were visited by their lawyer, who instructed us after a town meeting where we were trying to get a zoning change that we would 'never develop the land,' that they would spare no expense to combat us at every turn, that they would make us one offer only and that we should take it. So we took their offer and sold the golf course to the foundation for pennies on the dollar.”

Because of her extensive culinary background, however, Story was hired in October 2014, as an event coordinator for the Stephen Starr Organization, which owns 20 high-end restaurants in the Philadelphia area. “I was responsible for every aspect of an event the evening it occurred,” she explained, “from sit-down dinners for two in a private home to a wedding in a museum for 200 guests for Starr Catering. But Stephen sold the company to an international conglomerate, which renamed it Constellation Culinary, and I was recently let go due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In 2001, long before joining the Starr Organization, Story had started Itz a Stitch, which sells clothing items that mostly appeal to male golfers. Now that her culinary career has been derailed by the pandemic, she has transfused life back into Itz a Stitch, which among other things will take a jpeg photo of a golfer's hobbies, pets, etc., and lay them out on a belt with their initials.

After all these adventurous life experiences, what is the best advice Story has ever received? “Stay positive, and don't make life decisions on less than five hours of sleep!”

For more information about the Oct. 30 trunk sale, call 267-297-5736. For more information about Itz a Stitch, visit itzastitch.com

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