54 THE QUEENS COURIER • BUZZ • SEPTEMBER 27, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Intense drama opens at RTC
Photo courtesy of QWNS Café
This ‘Sweet Genius’ of cooking in Long Island City off ers something tasty for everyone
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
Aft er brushing his teeth in the morning,
the next thing that chef Michael Romano
thinks about is making the croissants at
his restaurant, QWNS Café in Long Island
Romano arrives at his restaurant every
day by 4:30 a.m. to gingerly place trays of
the soon-to-be-fl akey pastry in something
called a proof box, a tall metal cabinet used
to warm bread, in order to make them
rise. His croissants — both traditional and
vegan — are his pride and joy.
Th e chef not only prides himself on being
a committed and creative chef, but also on
a restaurant, and menu, that consciously
works to be inclusive to all its community
members. As people evolve and new
dietary restrictions or habits start to pop
up, QWNS Café works to feed everyone.
“Vegans are an aft erthought or even a
nuisance for some chefs,” Romano said.
Th is is not the case at QWNS Café, which
specializes in vegan and gluten-free pastries.
Romano has perfected his in-house
vegan butter, which he uses to laminate
QWNS’ vegan croissants.
QWNS Café off ers more than just pastries.
Romano has worked as primarily
a pastry chef for over a decade and was
the winner of Food Network’s competitive
baking show “Sweet Genius” in 2012. But
despite his background and obvious love
for pastry creation, he puts just as much
heart into the salads, sandwiches and sides
that make the majority of the menu at the
café, which is split between vegan, gluten
free and “gluten-lover” options. He
applies the precision of a pastry artist to
“I remember a woman that couldn’t eat
black pepper,” said Romano. “ I literally
went through every item on the list to see
what I could do and ended making something
just for her.”
For the chef, every day is another opportunity
to chase the feeling of a job well.
According to the Romano, his work is all
about improving the lives of others.
“When you hand people a baked good,
no matter how bad their day or what is
going on in their life, people light up.”
Fierce loyalty. Deadly betrayal. Are
either truly forgivable? It’s opening night
at the Post Th eatre in Fort Tilden. Inside,
the year is 1955. Th e story, though, could
easily be culled from today’s headlines or
a classical Greek tragedy! Pulitzer Prizewinning
playwright Arthur Miller plunges
into a whirlwind of love and hate in his
masterpiece, “A View from the Bridge.”
Th e Rockaway Th eatre Company proudly
presents this riveting drama.
Director Frank Caiati shrewdly fi lls the
stage with contradictions. A stunning
sunset “upstage” is in stark contrast to
the dank and dirty poverty of the docks.
Worldly wise attorney Alfi eri (Bernard
Feinerman) wears a suit and holds rigidly
to the law. In contrast, the denizens of
the slums are dressed in rags and willingly
bend the rules.
Producer Susan Jasper off ers familiar
favorites and fi rst-timers. Th e newcomers
to RTC include orphaned Catherine
played by Melanie Mahanna, with illegal
aliens played by Guido Corno (Marco)
and Matthew Barrera (Rodolpho). Local
veterans include Robert Wilkinson as
longshoreman Eddie Carbone and Jodee
Timpone as his long-suff ering wife
Th e two-act play swirls around tough,
blue collar Eddie as his good intentions
are corrupted by a growing interest in
his underage niece. Ultimately, there will
be retribution. But by whose hand? Th e
actors all deliver an intangible mixture of
futility and hope. Th eir angst is inseparable
from that era’s location and lifestyle.
Th e wrenching climax is so well played,
that sobbing Beatrice (Jodee Timpone)
is shuddering from sorrow and still sobbing
as fi nal curtain calls continue. Bravo
indeed to the entire troupe for their
undeniable honesty and intensity!
Th ose behind the scenes include
Suzanne Riggs (stage manager), Frank
Caiati (scenic design), Adele Wendt (costume
design), Tony Homsey (technical
director), Richard Louis-Pierre (sound
design), and Elijah Schreiner (lighting
design). Kudos to the many supporting
players, the entire creative team and the
volunteers, all too numerous to acknowledge
V.I.P. follow-up: RTC’s Peggy (Page)
reports that beloved TV personality, performer,
playwright and author Renee
Taylor fulfi lled her promise. She recently
met a group of RTC friends for an evening
of food and fun. Taylor will be performing
at QPAC and elsewhere in the
For information on this and future
outstanding productions, click on www.
rockawaytheatrecompany.org, call 718-
374-6400 or “like” them on Facebook. As
always, save me a seat on the aisle.
A VIEW FROM
BY CLIFF KASDEN