Learn more about 'Burgh Bits and Bites
Sylvia, Founder and Tour Guide
Sylvia is a first-generation Pittsburgher, who spent her formative years in the South Hills. Her family roots extend across Switzerland and Germany and her language skills include English, German and Swiss-German (yes…it is a language!).
In the early nineties she decided to explore her family's European roots and headed for her father's native country of Switzerland. Once there, what was meant to be just a few months visit ended up becoming an eight year sojourn. During her time living and working in the "old country" Sylvia explored the myriad regions of Europe from Alsacian vineyards to Greek beaches, Italian islands to French
countrysides and everywhere in between - soaking up the unique sights, sounds and flavors along the way.
Once Sylvia returned to the US, she set about re-discovering her hometown with its own many offerings and rich history. Her most recent job back home was as Assistant Director, Business Development for Executive Education at Katz Graduate School of Business. Soon thereafter she began volunteering with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and more recently with the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) as a tour guide.
It seemed only natural then to combine a love of good food, an affection for the 'Burgh and her skills as a tour guide into specialized walking tours highlighting Pittsburgh's best bits and tastiest bites. Sylvia currently resides west of Pittsburgh with her husband and their two children.
"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." - G. K. Chesterton
Gabe, Tour Guide
Gabe is a life-long Pittsburgh resident who taught for over 30 years in the Pittsburgh Public School system as a homebound teacher for special needs students. Since retirement, Gabe has pursued his interest in the history and architecture of Pittsburgh through his involvement with Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF).
Sylvia and Gabe initially met while conducting a PHLF tour. She encouraged him to become involved in the Strip food tours. The unique quality of these food businesses appealed to Gabe for many reasons, one being: "I have a great time giving these tours, it brings back fond memories of my grandfather who
owned a grocery store and would visit the Strip to buy goods."
Gabe is married to Karen and has a son, Paul, a daughter, Amanda, and three grandchildren.
"The more you know, the more you love, and by loving more, the more you enjoy."- St. Catherine of Siena
Jen, Tour Manager
Jenifer moved to Pittsburgh from Annapolis, MD a little more than 6 years ago. Living most of her life in and around the Washington, DC area afforded her the opportunity to explore different ethnic restaurants and partake in various cultural activities. Her experiences in DC coupled with her travels to Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean, confirmed Jenifer's love of culture and the cuisine native to the places she traveled.
After attending one of Sylvia's first tours, Jenifer fell in love with the Strip District. "In the Strip, I'm able to find the foods and authentic ingredients to recreate
the dishes I enjoyed during my travels." The fact that she is happy to try new foods certainly makes her visits to the Strip an adventure.
Previously, Jenifer worked for 15 years in pharmaceutical and medical sales. She loves to talk to new people and share her passions. Jenifer and her husband live west of Pittsburgh with their two daughters.
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Corinne, Tour Guide and Tour Guide Trainer
Corinne is a Pennsylvania native and University of Pittsburgh graduate who has lived in Pittsburgh for over 15 years. She currently works as the Director of Tourism at Rivers of Steel Heritage Tours and creates customized tour itineraries for bus groups visiting the Pittsburgh region from all over the United States and Canada. Corinne got her start in Pittsburgh tourism with 'Burgh Bits and Bites and believes that exploring the food in a neighborhood is one of the best ways to experience the culture of the community.
Corinne loves to travel, most recently to the Middle East and Africa, but also loves being a tourist in her own city!
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Richard, Tour Guide
Richard loves to travel with his family, having had extended stays in Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, and China.
Richard and his wife Valerie have four daughters, Hilary, Heather, Hayley, and Halyse, and a granddaughter, Vera.
Richard was recently featured in this article regarding the Northside tour:
"We are each of us angels with only one wing. And we can only fly embracing each other." Luciano DeCrescenzo
Richard is a native of Pittsburgh. He worked in education as a history teacher, principal, school superintendent, and assistant professor of history at the university level for 37 years. He is an avid historian, earning his Doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University. While serving as a docent with Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation he met Gabe, who encouraged him to explore working with Sylvia. He leads tours in the Strip District, Bloomfield, and the Northside (Deutschtown), referring to Pittsburgh neighborhoods as windows to the world...with great food!!!
Beth, Tour Guide and Food Writer
Beth is a Pittsburgh based food writer whose work has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, CraftPittsburgh and her blog, www.bethkurtztaylor.com.
Sharing stories about the people and traditions behind regional foods is often the focus of her writing. Since 2012, she has been with 'Burgh Bits and Bites leading food tours in the Strip District, Lawrenceville, Bloomfield and Allentown. Behind the scenes, she blogs for us and helps with tour development. Beth holds a Master of Arts in Food Studies from Chatham University and lives in Penn Township with her son Ted and a plethora of cookbooks.
"Be joyful because it is humanly possible." ― Wendell Berry
Cheryl, Tour Guide
Upon arriving in Pittsburgh in 1992 Cheryl and her husband found the Strip District and fell in love with it!
"For me, the Strip District was a throwback to growing up in the Bronx, NYC. It was an explosion of ethnic culture and incredible foods." Her travels have included Spain (studied in Madrid), Mexico, Trinidad/Tobago, Canada, Caribbean Islands and more than half of America presenting her the opportunity to experience many culinary delights indigenous to those places!She marvels at the city's transformation from the "Great Industrial Steel Days" to a place that is vibrant & current, yet still maintains its rich diverse cultural heritage.
That heritage includes many delectable recipes passed down from generation to generation. Sharing snippets of Pittsburgh's rich history and her zeal for food with others is a match made in heaven.
Cheryl earned a BA in Communications at S.U.N.Y. Oswego & a Teacher Certification at Chatham University which led to teaching in the West Hills Area for many years. She and her husband have a son and daughter. Faith, family, education, cooking, service, and travel are at the heart of her DNA.
"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln
Valerie, Tour Guide
Valerie is a Pittsburgh native, and originally from the Gibsonia area. She is also a (2000) graduate from Duquesne University School of Education, and holds a Master's degree in Psychology in Education from The University of Pittsburgh. She currently works as Special Education teacher in the Woodland Hills School district.
While her roots and deep love for everything food-related originate in Pittsburgh (especially charcuterie and cheese plates), she has a passion for travel.
She not only enjoys trying new food around
Pittsburgh (and the world!), she also enjoys growing it. She currently manages a garden at the Woodland Hills Administration Building. Valerie was recently featured in this article and video written by Doug Oster of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Valerie currently lives in the Swissvale area and is also the dedicated tour guide for the Farm to Table Partnership Tour.
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf
Gina, Tour Guide
Gina is a native to the Pittsburgh area and grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Family and tradition is a big part of how she was raised. With Italian and Slovak roots, food has always played an important role in her life. Her job as a 2nd grade teacher has given her the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country, and to explore the world. Gina is always ready to meet new people, and have a great time doing so.
"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." - Mae West
Jackie, Tour Guide
Jackie is a lover of language and travel, people and Pittsburgh-- a consummate extrovert! She is a born and bred Pittsburgher, having returned and stayed from a 10 year hiatus in California. She has a degree in French (with a minor in Spanish and a bit of Russian) from Monterey Institute of International Studies.
She has worked for a total of 15 years as a travel agent, of course enjoying the commensurate world travel opportunities.
She has owned a dance studio, teaching all forms of dance to kids through adults and doing extensive
local high school choreography (Gene Kelly Award!).
All of this has brought her to her most recent and MOST enjoyable career as a Pittsburgh tour guide! This has included the Pittsburgh version of the London double decker tour buses, a position as official guide on the Duquesne Incline (in English AND French), and as a step-on guide doing theme and extensive city tours.
Now she is very happily exploring and sharing the wonderful food and the interesting history of lovely Pittsburgh neighborhoods with Burgh Bits and Bites food tours!
"We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time." - T.S. Eliot
Audrey, Tour Guide
Growing up, my family frequented the strip. I fell in love with the mix of culture and tightly woven community that I experienced on the early morning, Saturday visits and the passion and love for the city that came out on a Steeler Sunday. In high school, I started working in the strip and maintained my job through post-college because of the family I built in the strip community. While I wasn’t making hot donuts with good friends in the strip, I studied psychology in education and volunteered in Pittsburgh preschools as an Americorp member. My love for people, culture, education and food has brought me around the world as I’ve studied, taught, explored, and shared my faith on four continents
(three to go!) No matter where in the world I’ve been, my heart is in Pittsburgh. I love this city and it’s vibrant, welcoming people, and I love showing them off to others!
“Nobody else can live the life you live. And even though no human being is perfect, we always have the chance to bring what's unique about us to live in a redeeming way.” - Fred Rogers
Lucy, Tour Guide
Born and raised on the Northside of Pittsburgh, Lucy has always taken pleasure in exploring the city’s historic neighborhoods and culinary delights. As a child, Lucy’s family crossed the Allegheny River to do their shopping at the Yards—now known as the Strip District—where Lucy’s mother worked at Wholey’s Fish Market in the 1970s. Growing up one of ten siblings in a Italian/German-American family and going on to raise a family of her own, cooking and eating together has always been important family time for Lucy.
Her interest in food, wine, and travel led Lucy to pursue a number of notable certifications,
including the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Certificate Awardee Level I & II. She is also an International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) Certified Tour Director and Guide. Lucy’s tour and travel experience includes being a docent & member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and serving as travel advisor and owner of her own company, Vivo Travel.
Lucy’s passion for exploring new places and cultures, as well as meeting new people, has led her to travel the globe extensively, visiting more than a dozen countries. Of these, her favorite is Italy, where she especially enjoyed pursuing a culinary course with a Tuscan chef as well as studying the Italian language over time. Ultimately, Lucy believes that food is a shared experience that brings people together, and she looks forward to sharing that experience with you.
"Food is everything we are. It's an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It's inseparable from those from the get-go." -Anthony Bourdain