by Jerry Eimbinder
Chef Jill Rose, founder of Chiboust in Tarrytown, died of Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) on October 31. She was 52.
She was the first girl to play on the Yellow Springs Elementary School, Maryland, baseball team. She learned how to fresh-squeeze lemonade and sell it at booths at local fairs while a student at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Maryland. At first she worked for a chain operator of lemonade stands; later she operated her own stands at functions near and far.
At Tarrytown’s annual street fair on Main Street, Rose always set up a lemonade stand in front of Chiboust and offered other sweets and treats as well.
She opened her first restaurant while in her early 20s; it was located in Frederick and funded mainly by local investors. It failed after a short time but proved to be a valuable learning experience, she said. She concluded that she needed more schooling in order to pursue a successful career in the restaurant business.
After evaluating many culinary schools in a lengthy process, Rose enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park in 1989 and earned two degrees (culinary and pastry); she cooked for an Indy racing car team, its followers and the nightly guests of the team’s sponsors as the drivers competed across America; and she was a pastry chef at Lespinasse in Washington, D.C. and New York City and at La Caravelle in Manhattan.
Rose was recruited by the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDCO) — newly created to provide the underprivileged in the Bronx with affordable training. She developed a curriculum and taught in its Culinary Arts Vocational Training Program. Prescreened applicants, many on welfare, could sign up for an intensive, six-month, hands-on course for as little as $5 per month.
After undergoing chemotherapy, in February 2013 at the age of 49, she had surgery — a double mastectomy and removal of 23 lymph nodes — followed by more chemotherapy and radiation. Later, it was discovered that she had a very aggressive form of breast cancer and lesions were spotted in her liver.
Chiboust, now closed, was one of Tarrytown’s restaurant treasures. It opened in early 2004 at 14 Main Street across from the Tarrytown Music Hall.
Rose was a resident of Tarrytown and one day while walking she noticed a “For Rent” sign in the space previously occupied by a Laundromat. She signed a lease and opened a French bistro that, contrary to neighboring restaurants, placed emphasis on its pastries and desserts.
Chiboust was also a bakery and pastries were displayed for many years in a refrigerated display case near the front entrance. But during a one-week, summer renovation in 2012, the display case was removed to add seats at the bar. In September, 2012, gourmet pizza was added to the menu — something she had considered doing years earlier.
Her search for an additional location in Tarrytown that would include a pastry department had barely begun when sadly she was diagnosed with cancer.