Former restaurant and spice shop owner Ellen Rose (Tecosky) Appelbaum has died.
Ellen Rose (Tecosky) Appelbaum, who owned the Ellen Rose Restaurant in Germantown, as well as the Chestnut Hill Spice Shop, died in Philadelphia on July 17 due to complications from heart disease. She was 87.
She discovered her talent and passion for food early in life. At the age of 11, after her father’s death, she became responsible for the family meals. When she became bored with her limited recipes, she reached out to an aunt who had lived in France and had a background in French cooking.
Yet Appelbaum landed in the restaurant business by accident in 1980 when, at the age of 50, she found herself out of a job. A friend asked her to join the staff of his new Center City restaurant, where she learned the basics of restaurant cooking.
After a year in that position she left to become a partner at the Chestnut Hill Spice Shop, where she honed her cooking repertoire and drew devoted customers from throughout the region. After 10 years at the Spice Shop, she ventured out on her own and opened the Ellen Rose Restaurant.
The Ellen Rose Restaurant closed in August of 1996. That same year, Appelbaum and her son, Andy, started the Ellen Rose Dressings business producing her pesto sauces and salad dressings, which are still available today in local markets.
A number of employees who trained in her kitchen went on to their own careers in the restaurant business, including Amy Edelman, owner of the Night Kitchen in Chestnut Hill.
Appelbuam was a lifelong community activist and, with her husband Noyma, supported the civil rights, civil liberties and peace movements, and the Henry A. Wallace for president campaign in 1948.
In the 1950s they moved to Bucks County to become charter members of the pioneering planned integrated community called Concord Park. During the 1960s, she fought segregation in Philadelphia’s schools, and was an early supporter of busing.
Appelbaum was born in Philadelphia on Oct. 24, 1928. She grew up in the Logan and East Oak Lane sections of Philadelphia, and lived for the last 54 years in East Oak Lane with her husband, Noyma Appelbaum. She is survived by her husband; three children, Erin (Peter) Appelbaum, Andy Appelbaum and Debby (Appelbaum) Seitz; daughter-in-law Beth Becker; son-in-law Phillip Seitz; and two grandchildren, Lara Appelbaum and Lyle Seitz.