Our Dedicated Staff
Our employees are a big part of the success at F. Oliver’s! We’re connected by a love of food, an eagerness to learn, and a passion to share with our fellow employees and customers. And if our shared passion for food and cooking group us together, our diversity in interests make us each distinct and unique. We kindly invite you to learn a bit more about us:
About the Proprietor, Penelope Pankow
F. Oliver’s is the culmination of proprietor Penelope Pankow’s lifelong love of good food, the company of friends and family, and the desire to run her own business.
After a long career in corporate America, Penelope returned to school in 2006 and graduated with a master’s degree in hospitality management from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.
Penelope is excited to share the flavorful and interactive atmosphere of F. Oliver’s with new and old friends and to become a vital part of the locales F. Oliver’s call home.
Emma Cambalik, Store and Special Events Manager
Emma was introduced to F. Oliver’s when she and her father were walking around downtown Canandaigua. They had heard the rave reviews about the store and decided to go in. Emma was impressed by the hospitality and extensive tastings offered. It was like nothing she had ever seen or tasted before. Wowed by her experience, Emma began incorporating F. Oliver’s products into her cooking. Once she joined the team during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, she could not imagine leaving.
Based on Emma’s background in restaurants, food science, and winemaking, dining experiences have become a centerfold of her life. She thoroughly enjoys assisting customers discover new ways to incorporate F. Oliver’s products into their everyday cooking. While she loves opening up the minds of people who come into the store to the unlimited possibilities of F. Oliver’s products, she most enjoys learning from her customers: “I love to ask customers how THEY use the products – most of the time it’s a use I have never even thought of!”.
Having spent a significant part of her life in Canandaigua, the Main Street location feels like home. “Canandaigua is a great visitor destination, so you never know who is going to walk through the door (and that is what makes every customer particularly unique)”. Emma is passionate about giving back to the community and spreading the word about F. Oliver’s fantastic ultra premium EVOO’s, balsamic vinegars, spices and spice blends. “This is a foodie’s dream job- working with high-quality products and encouraging customers to live flavorful, healthful lives every single day”.
Stacey Mrva, Store and Special Events Manager
Stacey’s art is what first brought her to F. Oliver’s, “I was commissioned by the owner to create a custom piece of artwork for the store,” says Stacey, “ but I’ve been coming back for the amazing products ever since.” She visited the store to get a feel for it before beginning her piece and immediately felt welcomed. “The store was beautiful. I love to cook and to try new things and I left feeling very inspired.”
Stacey has been cooking since childhood and learned from her mother, “When we went out to eat, my mom would taste a dish and try to recreate it at home. I learned so much from her adventurous spirit.” While Stacey had a great teacher, she knows that not everyone grew up in the kitchen, “Cooking is not intuitive to everyone. I love to show people that making a delicious meal doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult.”
Single varietals are Stacey’s favorite, “I had no idea there was so much depth of flavor in olive oils. They add such dimension to any dish, whether you are sauteing or finishing a dish with a healthy drizzle.” And her favorite advice to give customers? “Don’t be afraid to try new things!”
Rochester is quickly becoming a great city for foodies and Stacey is among the first. “We have such great restaurants here with some very talented chefs. People are being inspired to try new things and we offer them some wonderful inspiration. We are also a very health-conscious town. More and more people are coming into the store to take advantage of the health benefits of our products.”
Zack Fischl, Store and Special Events Manager
Zack first encountered F. Oliver’s when he was looking for food and flavor ideas that took him beyond his traditional meat and potatoes cooking. He found F. Oliver’s was a great place to explore and a fun place to work. “I really enjoy customer service and sales and F. Oliver’s provides an easy atmosphere to meld those two things together.” Zack started as a part time employee in our Skaneateles store and then moved to our Ithaca store as its manager.
Relatively new to home cooking, Zack is especially drawn to the new cook, someone who isn’t technically trained or even very experienced, “I think a lot of people are comfortable getting cooking advice from someone who is at the same level they are.” Zack has tons of tips and tricks to share, easy ways to make home cooking healthy and flavorful.
Zack has become adept in preparing many different types of dishes and has great advice for anyone who wants to eat more healthfully without having to change everything in their diet, “Simply replacing the butter or margarine you use in everyday cooking with EVOO improves heart health and makes your skin radiant.”
As a proud Ithacan, Zack loves bringing F. Oliver’s quality and selection to his fellow townspeople, “Ithaca is filled with people who value high quality, healthy food. It’s also packed with people from different cultures and F. Oliver’s often provides regional flavors that aren’t readily available at the local grocer.”
While Zack loves all F. Oliver’s products, his favorite is our Sunday Morning Maple Balsamic, “it makes the best cream cheese icing for my birthday banana cake!”