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 People in the News


People In The News - Myra Naseem & Elegant Eating

By Stacey Altherr

Myra Naseem  - Elegant Eating - 739 Smithtown Bypass, Smithtown

If you ask Myra Naseem how she juggled teaching, being a single mother of two teenage girls, and starting a second career, she will tell you that she is more herself when juggling many balls in the air and looking for something new and different.

“I’m the sort of person that has to change,” she said. “I wake up in the morning and take a picture from one room and put in a different room.” 

That ability to change – actually inspired to make constant changes – is what makes Elegant Eating such a success. Starting while she was still a home economics teacher and raising two teenage girls, she would cook for family and friends, often catering dinner parties and other small gatherings. 

She made a cake and some other dishes for her eldest daughter’s bat mitzvah, and the caterer at the time liked what he saw. He hired her to work for him, which gave her an early insight into the catering world. She was soon supervising.

“For me, supervising the staff on the floor was like a classroom,” said Naseem, 76. “It came naturally to me.”

By the time of her youngest daughter’s bat mitzvah, she catered the whole event, with help from current and former home economic students and friends.

During this time, she met Neil Schumer, who also worked for the same caterer and was graduating from college with a business degree. She and he became partners, opening their first storefront in an old deli in Stony Brook in 1986. From there, Elegant Eating expanded its catering business, eventually moving to their present spot on Smithtown Bypass. Although she never went to culinary school, her home economics background and ability to keep those balls in the air led to success. Schumer is strictly the business side, which Naseem said has always helped her concentrate more on the food side.

Elegant Eating currently has a staff of at least 14 people, with 12 of those in the kitchen. A separate wait staff goes out to work the parties.

With more than 30 years, Naseem has seen the business through good times and lean times. The key to success? That ability to constantly change with the times, and the dietary needs and wants of the clientele. For instance, no one wants bread anymore, she said. Crudités are out.

“I think people are much more willing to try new foods,” she said. “Especially vegetables.”

She has always tries to introduce a new idea or food item in her catering. She tells a story of bringing artisan bread years ago to a catered event, only to be told the bread was stale. She explained that it wasn’t stale, but a different texture.

More stories: The time she introduced Jicama at an event, she was told someone put raw potato on the table, or the time she was told the red lettuce was bad, because people were only eating iceberg or romaine.

“I would put out guacamole, and no one would touch it.”

She sees her role as educating the customer to the different variations of a dish they already have in mind. If they want Chicken Francese, she will ask them to think about rosemary chicken.

Not only has the food evolved over the years, but the business model itself. There are many less dinner parties and more corporate catering.

Elegant Eating also does a lot of memorial services. Since people who have moved out of town remember her so well, they will call their old friend to cater the event.

And, of course, weddings. Those have also changed over the 30 something years, said Naseem, from catering halls to weddings in barns out east or on private lawns. Elegant Eating can cater to large crowds with specialized dishes. 

“We cook on a different level, with unique presentation.”

There is a lot to owning a business, she said, since the burden is always on the owner. If the walk-in refrigerator goes down and you lose the food, you have to pay for it. 

“It isn’t as easy as it seems, and it isn’t for everyone.”

Naseem has seen it changed for small mom-and-pop style business. It’s hard to compete with the vast shopping sprees available on the internet. But it is possible to succeed in a small business.

Her advice to new entrepreneurs? If you have a dream, be sure to set a goal and write it down.

“If you set yourself up for success, you will do it. You have to feel really strong and really positive.”



People In The News - Evan Garland 


Evan Garland with SC Legislator Rob TrottaSmithtown, NY)…Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta recognized Evan Garland of Boy Scout Troop 75 at his recent Eagle Scout Court of Honor. Evan’s goal as young scout was to become an Eagle Scout in order to follow in the footsteps of his father and uncle, who were Eagle Scouts. His desire was so earnest that he joined the same troop, 75, that his father had been in when he became an Eagle Scout.

For his Eagle Scout project, Evan decided to do something that honored the veterans who died on September 11, 2001. He consulted with the director of Calverton National Cemetery and they decided that he would construct a memorial in the section where the veterans who died on that fateful day were buried at Calverton. The memorial would include a walkway and a garden where the families could come and pay tribute to their loved ones.

Suffolk County Legislator Trotta said, “Evan you are going in the right direction by achieving the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 16 and you will continue to excel because of your passion and dedication to the public and your community.” “I applaud your efforts and urge you to keep up the good work,” added Trotta.

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta is pictured with Scout Evan Garland at his Eagle Court of Honor at St. Joseph’s Church in Kings Park.



Congressman Zeldin Announces Isabella Kosiba Winner Of 4th Annual Art Contest


Congressman Lee Zeldin and Isabella KosibaPATCHOGUE, NY - On Friday, April 27, 2018, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) hosted his fourth annual art reception at Artspace in Patchogue, during which he announced Isabella Kosiba of Smithtown Christian School as the 2018 winner of the Congressional Art Competition for the First Congressional District: “The Artistic Discovery Contest”. In attendance at the event were the twelve finalists, their art teachers and families, Artspace curator Tracy Todd Hunter, and local artists who served as judges.

The House of Representatives hosts a nationwide high school art competition every spring to raise awareness of the importance of art programs in our schools, and to recognize and celebrate the creativity and diversity of students. The winner’s artwork is displayed in the United States Capitol for one year.

The third place winner, Sutton Reinboth-Lynch of East Hampton High School, and second place winner, Raphaela Araugo of Eastport South Manor High School, will have their artwork displayed in Congressman Zeldin’s Patchogue office.   

The twelve finalists include:

Haley Akl, Hilltop Homeschool

Raphaela Araugo, Eastport South Manor High School

Aiden Carlson, Eastport South Manor High School

Ryan Carrick, Riverhead High School

Josuel Jerez Puello, Riverhead High School

Isabella Kosiba, Smithtown Christian School

Luciano Pagliarulo, Smithtown Christian School

Sutton Reinboth-Lynch, East Hampton High School

Emma Rocchetta, Eastport South Manor High School

Ninon Savoye, Center Moriches High School  

Viviana Schmitt, Longwood High School  

Isabela Tarbet, East Hampton High School

The winner and a guest will receive a flight to Washington, D.C. to see their artwork on display in the U.S. Capitol courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

Congressman Zeldin said, “Congratulations to Isabella Kosiba, the artist of ‘Mirror, Mirror…’ and  the first place winner of the 2018 Congressional Art Competition for the First Congressional District. A special thanks and congratulations to all of the high school students who participated in this year’s art competition. Each and every piece submitted was enlightening and inspiring, and there is no shortage of talent, creativity and enthusiasm among this year’s participants. It was an honor to host a reception to recognize these artists, and I look forward to welcoming Isabella and her family to Washington, D.C. to view her artwork in the United States Capitol.”


KP Photo Club Member Liz Milward Places First In LI Museum Juried Art Show

Kings Park Photo Club Member Captures First Prize in LI Museum’s Juried Art Show

Smithtown resident Elizabeth Milward places first in “Wanderlust” Juried Art Show

Kings Park, NY: April 20, 2018:  Congratulations to Liz Milward, accomplished local photographer and Kings Park Photo Club member, on taking First Prize in the annual LI Museum Juried Art Show “Wanderlust.”  Prizes were awarded at a reception for the artists and the general public at the Museum in Stony Brook on Friday evening, April 20, 2018.

Liz’s photo “All Aboard”, was taken on the Strasburg Railroad in PA, and the two women were in period garb looking out the back of the train, reminiscing of where they have been and dreams of where they are headed:  Pure wanderlust!  (Photo Attached.)  More of Liz’s work can be viewed at

Kings Park photographer Frank Mercuri founded the Kings Park Photo Club in 2013 to showcase and develop the many talented photographers in and around Kings Park. Club member skill levels range from novice to professional. The Club is open to people of all skill levels and all types and styles of photography are welcome too.  The Club conducts presentations, work-sharing sessions, and conducts photo trips, “photo ops,” and field workshops.  And you don’t even have to live in Kings Park to join us! Our goal is to learn, have fun, and contribute to the community.

The Club meets the third Thursday of every month at the Kings Park Library at 7 PM.  More info about the Club and how to join it is on our website  HYPERLINK “”  


Smithtown Resident Phil Eng Named LIRR President

The Wall Street Journal is announcing the appointment of Phil Eng to the position of Long Island President. County Executive has offered the following statement in support of Smithtown resident Phil Eng.



“The LIRR couldn’t have a found a more qualified person for this role. As a Smithtown resident and Suffolk County native, Phil Eng understands the importance of transportation on Long Island. As Executive Deputy Commissioner and Chief Engineer at NYS DOT, Phil was instrumental in implementing Governor Cuomo’s vision to expand capacity and reliability along the Main Long of the Long Island Rail Road with Third Track. An avid railroad commuter, Phil knows first hand how integral the Long Island Rail Road is to our region and will use his more than 30 years of engineering expertise to continue the modernization of our transportation infrastructure.”