‘Eat with a purpose’: Food fare supports In My Father’s Kitchen nonprofit

In My Father’s Kitchen gets an assist from Asti Caffe’s Taste and See sauce line.

John Tumino of In My Father's Kitchen. Michael Davis photo

John and Leigh-Ann Tumino are the founders of In My Father’s Kitchen (IMFK), a faith-based nonprofit organization on Hawley Avenue that offers outreach and assistance to the chronically homeless and refugee communities in Syracuse. One of the ways they build relationships is through food, delivering chef-prepared, comforting meals to people living on the street and people newly arrived and finding their way in a new country.

Last year, John Tumino, a chef and co-founder of Asti Caffe on North Salina Street, introduced Taste and See pasta sauce as a way for people to “eat with purpose” at home, as well as a funding stream for IMFK. The sauce is based on his grandmother’s recipe.

Related: Eating With a Purpose: Nonprofit launches sauce line to help homeless

Tumino has sold nearly 600 cases of the sauce in the last year, which naturally has him thinking about expanding the Taste and See product line. Starting this week, you’ll be able to “eat with purpose” more often.

Like coffee? The Tuminos are collaborating with Nelson-based micro-roaster Peaks Coffee Company to offer New Horizons whole bean coffee. Tumino describes the custom blend as smooth and sweet, and says the name “New Horizons” is a reflection of the ultimate goal of In My Father’s Kitchen: to bring chronically homeless people in from the street and help them cross the bridge to a new life. A 10-ounce bag costs $10.

My Father's Kitchen products

In My Father’s Kitchen maple syrup and coffee. Michael Davis photo. Syracuse New Times

The second Taste and See product is New York state maple syrup. Tumino receives barrels of dark amber maple syrup from Shaver-Hill Farm in Harpersfield, which is reheated at Nelson Farms and bottled in plastic jugs with the Taste and See label. If the syrup in your cupboard is run-of-the-mill maple-flavored syrup, your taste buds are in for a treat. A 16-ounce container sells for $11.75.

The new products were introduced to the public last weekend in Cazenovia, where a “Murder at the Mansion” benefit event to support the work of In My Father’s Kitchen was held at Hillcrest Jephson Estate.

“One of our goals is using the marketplace to generate revenue and bring awareness to what we do,” Tumino says. “It’s a platform for people to see what we’re doing and to build our brand.”

Taste and See maple syrup, coffee and pasta sauce are available for purchase on Fridays, noon to 4 p.m., at the In My Father’s Kitchen storefront on 501 Hawley Ave., next to ArtRage Gallery. The sauce is also available at Wegmans and some small shops in Central New York, including Syracuse Soapworks and Metro Home Style.

For more information, call 529-3640 or visit or

Tea, Crafts And More Popping Up Downtown

If you attended the Tuesday farmers market in downtown Syracuse during the long hot summer, you might have enjoyed a refreshing iced tea from a vendor known as The Little Tea Cart, and headed home with a custom blend.

This week, Little Tea Cart owner and operator Melanie Cutillo is launching a “pop-up” shop at 208 Jefferson St., featuring teas, vintage and new teaware and handmade creations by local artisans. The downtown shop, called The Little Tea Cart & Friends, will feature custom-blended organic teas, scones, breads and other baked goods, local honey and paintings, pottery, fabric arts, upcycled home furnishing, and more by local artisans.

“As more artisans join, we seem to be taking on an interesting theme (of) part farmers market/art festival/vintage market,” Cutillo said in an email. “And we are looking for more artisans, especially those who are currently not in other shops downtown.”

The Little Tea Cart & Friends is having its soft opening this week. Cutillo plans to have the shop open Mondays through Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours may be adjusted for the holiday season, Cutillo said. For more information, visit or

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at Follow her on, connect on or email to [email protected].

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