French café offers relaxation amidst busy downtown

Located in the heart of bustling downtown, but with the atmosphere of a quaint country kitchen, Madeleine’s Café & Pâtisserie presents Spokane with a portal into European culture. Mother-daughter team Deb Green and Megan Vanstone opened the café in October 2008 with the hope of bringing a little bit of Parisian influence to their hometown. They were inspired by a trip they took to Paris during Vanstone’s junior year of high school.

“[French culture] sucks you in, and it’s hard not to want to bring it back,” Vanstone said. “It’s a simpler way of life.” Green and Vanstone’s trip to Paris did not begin to form into the vision of Madeleine’s, though, until Vanstone’s college days.

Attending University of Idaho, Vanstone struggled to decide on a course of study. Finally, she realized that she wanted to take advantage of what she calls “the chemistry in the kitchen” between herself and her mom.

“Growing up, I had helped my mom [with her catering business] ever since I could hold a knife,” Vanstone said.

Once they had developed their business vision, Vanstone decided to pursue pastry school, and attended the San Francisco Baking Institute. Upon her graduation, the mother-daughter team launched their business with versatility in mind.

“We really offer so many different options,” Vanstone said. “We cater to someone who wants just a cup of coffee in the morning and someone who wants a full meal,” Vanstone said.

Aside from serving many needs, family has always been important within Madeleine’s. Vanstone’s younger brother and sister, and two of her cousins work in the restaurant, she said. Additionally, her husband and father help out when it’s needed.

“Even my grandparents chip in during busy times like Hoopfest doing things like handing out Gatorade,” Vanstone said.

Many of the recipes featured in the café are heirloom recipes from Vanstone’s grandmothers and great grandmothers.

Those that are not family recipes are usually tested out during weekly family dinners, such as their popular roasted corn salad, which is Vanstone’s favorite savory item sold at Madeleine’s.

Her absolute favorite food item, though, are cinnamon rolls, which she describes as summing up her love of French culture.

“I think part of the idea of country French food is the comfort of it. Part of what drew us to this food is that it’s gooey and warm, and that’s a cinnamon roll.”

Story by Lindsie Wagner

Links Madeleine’s website University of Idaho San Francisco Baking Institute


Faith beyond the rest

Even though her son has been lying in a semi-comatose state for nearly two years, one Whitworth mother has still not given up faith.

Delali Dogbé, mother of Ghanaian student Kel­vin Garner, professed her faith to the Whitworth community Feb. 11 at the Gospel Explosion event.

“He will live,” Dogbé told the audience. “With God’s grace, Kelvin will live.”

Garner suffered a near-drowning experience in June 2009 after slipping on the edge of a pool and falling in, Dogbé said. Garner also suffered head injuries at the time. Since then, Garner has been in a semi-comatose state at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Garner can open and close his eyes, but receives his nutrition either intravenously or through a feeding tube.

Dogbé left Ghana to be with her son as soon as she heard about the accident, and has remained in Spokane since then. She describes her role as “Kelvin’s call bell,” citing how other patients have a button they can press to call the medical staff at the hospital. Since Garner cannot press a button, Dogbé stays by him to ensure that he appears com­fortable.

“He cries when I leave him,” Dogbé said. “He knows.”

Dogbé initially stayed in an apartment, but when Garner’s condition became more critical, she de­cided to begin staying with him at all hours. She now sleeps in a cot beside his bed, and runs her Ghanaian catering business from the family room across the hall.

“Now I stay in his room, and sometimes go to the waiting area to relax,” Dogbé said.

Before the accident, Garner studied pre-law at Whitworth. His decision to pursue pre-law sur­prised his mother.

“He had been a science student all his life,” Dog­bé said. “We expected him to study medicine, but he convinced me that this was a good choice. Once he made the choice, I noticed how much he likes to argue.”

In Ghana, Garner would advise his mother re­garding practical parts of her life, such as finances and business ventures.

When he came to Whitworth, Garner would send his mother messages about theories he had learned in class to help her with her small business, Dogbé said.

Dogbé also remembers him telling her about all of the friends he was meeting in his new home.

“He’s an outgoing type of per­son,” she said. “When he gets close to people, he makes friends.”

Those friends all came together to support Gar­ner through Gospel Explosion, an event put on by the Black Student Union.

The event has a 13-year history at Whitworth, and has been used as a fundraiser for Garner for the last two years.

Gospel Explosion brought together various gos­pel choirs from the Spokane area, as well as other worship performers such as dancers and other mu­sicians.

“I told the students that I wanted to support Kel­vin, and they came along because he’s one of our own students and a lot of people knew him,” BSU advisor Stephaine Nobles-Beans said.

Last year, Gospel Explosion raised more than $3,300 for Garner’s fam­ily, according to a pre­vious Whitworthian re­port.

This year, the event raised another $1,700 for the cause. This mon­ey will be used to help pay for various costs re­lated to Garner’s situa­tion, BSU president Gilbert Sandoval said.

“The medical bills are through the millions right now,” Sandoval said. “We’re trying to help his mom and help some of his family members from Ghana come to see him one last time.”

Although doctors have told Dogbé there is not much more they can do, she refuses to give up hope.

“When human thoughts have ended, that’s when God begins his work, so that it’s clear that God is doing it,” she said. “If not for God, Kelvin would have died in the pool.”

Whitworth faculty and staff members pull her through, Dogbé said.

“Mama Beans and others have been so good to me,” Dogbé said.

The international office, Vice President for Stu­dent Life Kathy Storm, dean of spiritual life Terry McGonigal and the Ghanaian students have also been influencial.

Although she expresses great thanks to these members of the Whitworth community, Dogbé wishes students visited more often.

“I appeal to those who were close to Kelvin be­fore this happened,” Dogbé said. “They shouldn’t feel bad to get closer to him because he needs their love. He hears, so if they come and talk to him, he will hear. Their love will help him and by the grace of God, he will achieve life.”

Story by Lindsie Wagner

Photo by Chrissy Roach