Trailblazing Chester County Chef Andrew Deery Recalibrates

Photo by Tessa Marie Images

After 15 years of leading the Phoenixville restaurant scene, Deery stepped away from Majolica in order to serve those in recovery at Manor of Hope.

Every night for a solid week, guests assembled at Majolica for socializing and cocktails, followed by an eight-course meal. Most left with a tinge of melancholy, almost as if they’d attended a wake. And, in fact, it was—sort of.

In July 2019, Andrew Deery announced that he’d be shuttering the acclaimed 40-seat bistro that helped trigger Phoenixville’s restaurant revival. The BYOB garnered raves from the most seasoned foodies. Even notoriously exacting Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan was impressed, writing that Majolica was not only Phoenixville’s “most sophisticated dining experience but one of the top restaurants in the western suburbs.”

Fifteen years later, it was time for Deery to move on—and he was going out on top. After that final week of cooking for his loyal customers, he officially closed Majolica on Dec. 7, the same day it opened in 2004. “It was ultimately my most rewarding professional experience,” he says. “I had a great support staff.”

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A month later, Deery took over as culinary director at Phoenixville’s Manor of Hope, where he prepares meals and works with residents of the nationally recognized addiction support program. He helps them develop kitchen skills while advocating the kind of good food choices that properly fuel the body and aid recovery. Deery, 50, is more than five years sober and a certified family recovery specialist. “It’s a good source of pride for me,” he says.

Growing up, Deery lived with his family on a large property in Chester County with “substantial” gardens, which he helped tend with his grandfather. That early education proved to be the foundation of his culinary philosophy. “At an early age, I was exposed to agriculture, wholesome food, sources of food and thoughtfully prepared meals,” Deery says. “From there, I took an interest in what I was eating, where it came from and where it was produced.”

In 1992, three years after graduating from Phoenixville High School, Deery earned an associate’s degree in professional cooking from Baltimore International College. He spent the next eight years working at restaurants in Maine before returning to the area in 2000 and opening Majolica four years later. “Some customers had never had a fresh beet or a fresh oyster,” he says. “I wanted to awaken people’s perceptions of what dining could be.”

Deery connected with Manor of Hope founder Steve Killelea about four years ago, when a recent resident began working at Majolica. Manor of Hope is based on a Canadian model Killelea discovered while looking for help for his son. It arms those battling addiction with a holistic approach to healthy living. According to Killelea, seven out of 10 people who go to Manor of Hope complete the year-long program. “I like to surround young men with people they can look up to,” says Killelea. “Andrew is very generous in the kitchen.”

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Under Deery’s “Sous Chef of the Day” program, residents spend time with him preparing meals. Every Sunday, two of them are tasked with providing a meal for the Manor community, and Deery serves as their assistant. He also provides weekly lessons on how to prepare healthy meals, and graduates leave with a collection of DIY recipes.

One of the more therapeutic aspects of Deery’s role involves the organic gardens residents cultivate. The bounty becomes part of the daily meal plan. Last year, the harvest was so abundant that there was even enough to distribute to neighbors.

Deery is also a guitar player who jams with residents and leads them on hikes and kayak trips. “I can’t overstate how important he is to our program,” Killelea says.

The good vibes work both ways, as Manor of Hope is also vital to Deery’s continuing recovery. “It’s something I can really feel good about,” he says. “I’m giving back and helping people directly.”

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