Keeley Ardman DeSalvo
I was born and raised in Hot Springs, and have been fortunate to have lived in wonderful cities with diverse and rich food cultures. Following graduation from Southern Methodist University with a degree in finance, I worked in Dallas as a stockbroker before moving to Washington, D.C, where I served as an advisor to two presidential campaigns and, later, as a policy advisor to the Department of Energy during the Clinton administration. After returning home to Arkansas, the idea of a specialty food store began to take shape. I couldn't find the special items I wanted to use in my own kitchen and give as gifts that at one time had been readily available to me! At that time, choices in Arkansas were limited. Thankfully, that has changed and, as the array of Arkansas products we offer at The Savory Pantry indicate, we now have an impressive variety of thoughtfully made, delicious foods coming from producers across the state.
I grew up surrounded by good food, having been exposed to the restaurant business at an early age through The Pancake Shop --my family's business in downtown Hot Springs since 1966. My mother was the driving force behind the business, establishing a nationwide customer base by providing excellent food and extraordinary service. I've always been proud--and grateful--that we continue to have lines out the door on any given weekend. It made sense to me to draw upon the legacy my mother established at The Pancake Shop and extend it further, and in 1998 I opened The Savory Pantry, right next door to the restaurant. I am thankful that, just as customers understood my mother's vision of what the world's best breakfast could be, our customers look to The Savory Pantry for the very best in specialty foods and gourmet food gift giving.
Growth:The Savory Pantry has developed a loyal clientele coast to coast and, in 2012, I started to consider another location. I was immediately attracted to Saratoga. The similarities between it and Hot Springs are many: a historic race course with some of the finest thoroughbred racing in the country, a vibrant arts scene, natural spring waters, the mountains and lakes, and a sophisticated, small town feel. Add to that the proximity to New York City, Boston, and Montreal, and it seemed an ideal choice. In 2014 we opened The Savory Pantry Saratoga on historic Broadway Avenue. I truly have the best of both worlds, splitting my time between Arkansas and New York.
Stocking The Savory Pantry:We tenaciously source the most extraordinary foods in the world for our customers, always with quality and value in mind, and are constantly reminded that reaching the pinnacle of quality and success in any endeavor isn't possible without an unbeatable team--a team that is deeply committed to and driven by its mission. The Savory Pantry Team begins with our producers and ends with our customers. We choose producers who dedicate their lives to being the best at their crafts and who distill years of care and knowledge into their products. We want you to know not only where your food comes from, but who makes it and what motivates them to do so. Beyond stocking our pantries and yours through our storefronts in Hot Springs and Saratoga, and lovingly sending products and gift baskets across the nation to those who matter most to you, we brainstorm, consider, and create at all hours of the day and night, remaining curious about the latest movements in food and doing whatever it takes to ensure an unparalleled customer experience. We love what we do, and hope that you'll taste the care, enthusiasm, and expertise of our entire Team in every bite.
Favorite Pantry Products:Gilles Hervy Fleur de Sel, a finishing salt which is hand-harvested by Gilles Hervy and his family in France; it can seriously transform a dish! Grove 45 EVOO, a spectacular oil from California made by two inspirational women I'm proud to call friends. I love using our Lemon Agrumato for roasting poultry and fish. And finally our Spicy Plum Chutney from The Virginia Chutney Company is my entertaining go-to. Serve with a wedge of Manchego and a good bottle of wine --you're set!
Stacy De Garay
I was born in Queens, New York, and lived there until my family moved to Saugerties, New York, when I was about ten. I have called Saratoga Springs home for the last 20 years and that's where I've been a member of the sales staff since August 2015.
Relationship with Food:I come from a traditional Italian family, so of course food has always played an important role in my life. We celebrate with food; we grieve with food. "What are we going to eat?" is always the most important question to be answered. I love to cook and nothing feels better than preparing a meal I know my family and friends will enjoy. I'm always looking for new and creative recipes to try out, so being able to work in an environment that exposes me to so many specialty foods is very exciting. It feels like Christmas morning every time we get a new product.
Stocking The Savory Pantry:My best friend Sharon has been with the store since it opened and loves it so much that when an opening became available, I jumped at the chance to join the team. I love it here at The Savory Pantry. How blessed am I that work never feels like a "job"! I had been a stay at home mom for many years, but now that my children are both in high school (one leaves for college in the fall) I knew it was time to return to what I love to do. There is nothing like meeting people from all over the country (and the world) who come in the store, and hearing their stories. I have always thought that everyone has a story to tell if only you are willing to listen. The team at the Saratoga store is a small, close family made up of people I am so happy to call my friends. I think we all have strengths in different areas and complement each other well. I enjoy working with each one of these women and feel as though together we offer the customer an experience that is unlike one you would get anywhere else. We know the products, we know the stories, and we genuinely care that our customers leave happy, with everything that they came for... and maybe with some new ideas. Whether they are locals or people who are only visiting the area for a day or two, I want every customer to feel as though they have found their go-to resource for entertaining ideas, gifts, or maybe just a little treat for themselves. I love that so many of our customers stop by on a regular basis just to taste what's new!
Favorite Pantry Products:I love the stories behind what we carry and that each producer provides ideas for how to use those products, often in ways you never would have considered. I love the entire Beekman 1802 line, but I would have to say that the Beekman 1802 Lemon Creamed Honey is my favorite. I use it in my tea, on toast, and have even used it to baste a turkey breast. Try it! My favorite go-to has to be Jan's Farmhouse Cranberry Pistachio Crisps. I try to keep them on hand at all times, but they go pretty quickly in my house. I love them for a quick snack with some sharp aged cheddar and thinly sliced Honeycrisp Apples. Yum! My list wouldn't be complete without A L'Olivier Porcini & Truffle Olive Oil--a great partner to the bread basket on any table!
I'm from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and have worked for The Savory Pantry for three and a half years in both locations.
Relationship with Food:I consider myself a foodie and love cooking as much as eating out. I was quite a picky eater growing up and even through college. I did like native Louisiana cuisine but that was as adventurous as I got. I moved to New York from Louisiana right after college and quickly expanded my taste for all types of food. From low brow to high brow, New York was a new world of foods. I worked in a diner for the first two months I and learned what a "bialy" was as well as a "scooped bagel." Then, I worked as a hostess at the (now closed) French restaurant Capsouto Freres where I had my first dessert souffle (which the restaurant was quite famous for). While I adore a night of fine dining as much as the next gal, my weaknesses are NY Style (thin crust) pizza and champagne. I have almost no self control around either.
Stocking the Savory Pantry:I appreciate the exposure to new food trends and we work hard to keep our customers aware of the latest and best in food. I enjoy watching The Savory Pantry play a role in supporting other small businesses by carrying products made in small batches and always knowing the origins of the products!
Favorite Pantry Products:Grove 45 Olive Oil and Ritrovo Six-Year Balsamico. I was once visiting Keeley in Arkansas, and she made me a salad with Ortiz Tuna. I was sold. Who knew jarred tuna could be so good!
I was born in upstate New York, spent my childhood on Long Island, raised my own kids in Brooklyn, moved to Manhattan once they left for college, and finally ended up back in upstate New York! When I left my day job and my husband retired in 2019, we decided to make Saratoga Springs our permanent home. I had a long career in publishing and media, including stints as a magazine editor at Harper's, Parents, Child (as Editor-in-Chief), Scholastic, and Sesame Street. I've also written widely about parents, kids, and food.
More recently I was able to channel my passion for food and cooking by joining forces with Chef Harold Villarosa (alum of Noma and Per Se) and restaurateur Jacob Hadjigeorgis (Jacob's Pickles), to develop and implement programs for NYC youth about food, the hospitality industry, and entrepreneurship. For three years I developed and implemented school curricula, restaurant internships, and student-run farm-to-table events around NYC.
Relationship with Food:Working alongside Harold and Jacob gave me a de facto degree in hospitality and culinary arts, and doing it in the Big Apple allowed me to work, research, eat, and shop at some of the best food emporiums, restaurants, farmer's markets, and other food-centric spots in the world. (I was a regular at Kitchen Arts and Letters, the bookshop on the Upper East Side devoted to food and drink.) So when I moved to Saratoga I was thrilled to discover The Savory Pantry and its owner Keeley DeSalvo, a savvy, sophisticated, food-forward soul mate. I became a frequent shopper, an informal adviser, and now a blogger and recipe developer for the shop (dream job). I'd recently returned from an intensive food writing course led by best-selling cookbook author Diana Henry, and wanted to combine my passions for cooking and writing, for tasting and testing, for sharing ideas about food and friends and family. There's a community spirit about the Savory Pantry that's made me feel right at home.
Favorite Pantry Products:New items are always coming into the shop so my "favorites" frequently change. Currently, I love the Boiled Cider from Woods Cider Mill, aka liquid gold around my house. The Italian Truffle & Salt from Casina Rossa, is my new go-to for pretty much...everything I'd ordinarily turn to salt for. Especially anything involving a potato. Most of my favorite cookbook authors use Ortiz Anchovies in their recipes so I do, too, grateful that the Pantry always has those in-store. As an FTE (frequent track entertainer) the fantastic assortment of horse-racing products at the Pantry is my go-to place to find horse-themed napkins and towels, toothpicks and cocktail glasses, and host/hostess gifts during the racing season.
I'm originally from Hot Springs and have lived in Little Rock for nearly ten years, following living in Atlanta most of the decade prior (where I lived my other life as an attorney).
Relationship with Food:I grew up on the world's best blueberry pancakes and dreamy breakfast sausage patties at The Pancake Shop, and it's where I took my husband for breakfast when I wanted him to fall in love with me. While we waited for our table, we tried coffee, jams, and jellies at The Savory Pantry next door. I wouldn't have imagined that six years later I'd be working as a writer for The Savory Pantry! The Ardman and Pennington families go back two generations, so this job is an especially distinct honor. It's awakened all kinds of inspirations to create, write, photograph, eat, and drink for the Taste.Savor.Share Blog. Now all my Facebook and Instagram "food pics" can really count for something! I love reading about food in magazines and online, poring over cookbooks, reading chef bios, and eating at good restaurants in Little Rock and when I travel. Chopping and cooking are my evening therapy, and I treasure cooking for my family in the skillet, wok, tagine, or Dutch Oven! I never miss an episode of Top Chef and my husband and I love imagining how we'd respond to the challenges. I have so much fun strategizing with Keeley, Amy, and Megan about how to help customers enjoy their holidays, make fresh dishes and cocktails for entertaining, gain enlightening food knowledge that they can pass along, and learn the stories of producers so that they have a close understanding of the origins of the food they eat and serve.
Why do you think customers depend on The Savory Pantry?I say "they," but I'm a long-time customer too! I know whenever I send a gift basket for a holiday treat, when someone's sick or lost a loved one, or on a special occasion, I'm bringing a new lifelong customer to The Savory Pantry because Keeley has simply curated the very best. It's undeniable.
Favorite Pantry Products:I was in Rome and Florence in the fall of 2015, and love thinking that as I was viewing Michelangelo's David, the Titone Organic 2015 Olive Oil was being pressed! My husband and I cannot make a steak without the Applewood Smoked Sea Salt, and guests' eyes always open wide when they take their first meltaway bite of steak at our house. So when the salt runs out, we buy more. I was so impressed by the Beekman 1802 Abbey Ale and Hennepin jellies when I was working on the St. Patrick's Day post, I keep daydreaming of creative ways to use them.
I was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. My parents are Yankees--both from Cleveland, Ohio. I love to travel, but hope to always call Savannah home.