BUCKSLIFEMAG.COM • MAY/JUNE 2009 BL
INSIDE: 104 > If you think it gets much better than brunch on a lazy Sunday, you’re wrong 108 > Chef Pete Gialias wakes a sleeping dog in
New Hope 112 > It’s okay to get a little drunk at a beer tasting — or, a lot 113 > Mother and son bond over the perfect dessert 114 > Novelist
Marc Schuster comes up with gold in the checkout line
Photo by Cantor Design[Resistance was futile]
While his friends were slathering strawberry jam on top of an impen-
etrable layer of peanut butter and calling it lunch, 13-year-old Barry Sex-
ton was making veal Oscar at the Chestnut Hill restaurant 21 West.
Long before most of us recognized that there was more to cooking
than removing bread from a bag and applying the contents of whatever
jars were in reach, Sexton was working through fl avor combinations in
his prodigious mind.
“I work in a weird business. It’s not for everyone. You can have good
intentions to be a chef, but, without passion or love, you’re lost,” says
Sexton, now 47 and the owner of Opinionated Palate, a gourmet cater-
ing company that works primarily in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Sexton, who does not suffer from a lack of either, hasn’t stepped away
from the kitchen since he fi red up his fi rst grill. A graduate of The Art
Institute of Philadelphia, he honed his skills over the next 30 years at
the local landmarks, Hamilton’s Grill Room in Lambertville, NJ, and the
former Jean Pierre’s in Newtown. Sexton also worked as the executive
chef at the Buck Hotel in Feasterville and at a fi ve-star resort in Jamai-
ca, where he once fed the prime ministers of the Caribbean Council.
Sexton believes fi rmly one must earn the status-affi rming white jacket
of the executive chef and then wear it with an unwavering will to pro-
duce the best possible dish with every order. He prides himself on be-
ing meticulously organized, prepared and consistent. It’s his recipe for
precise, delicious fare.
That said, Sexton considers his ability to improvise in innova