CHEF ANGELA STICCO
Angela Sticco graduated from the Culinary Arts program at The Restaurant School in Philadelphia in 2006. Shortly after that she completed a 4 month apprenticeship in Chartres, France studying bread, confections, and viennoiserie while living and working with a French family in their bakery. Angela also has a passion for coffee, wine, and cheese and worked for the iconic DiBruno Bros. gourmet grocer for several years. She lived in Balestrate, Sicily for two years working with an artisanal Italian food exporter while studying the food, wine, and culture of Sicily.
Her career at John & Kira’s started in August of 2010 when she was hired as a seasonal chocolatier. That position quickly turned into a full time, and then a promotion to Head Chocolatier. Now, more than 10 years later she is completely submerged in the chocolate world. She has had the opportunity to attend classes with acclaimed Pastry Chefs and Chocolatiers from all over the world. She has traveled to Ecuador and Honduras to visit cacao plantations, speak with farmers, and see the process from beginning to end.
In addition to managing production at John & Kira’s she also manages the packaging and shipping of all of the products. During her tenure she has increased the product line by nearly 70% and continues to create new confections each year.
Angela was inducted into the Philadelphia Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier in 2019.
What inspired you to enter the world of pastry?
The artistry of it all. I love that in working with chocolate everything needs to be very precise, but there are still many ways to express creativity.
Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
Traveling, being with fellow chefs, memories from childhood, a visit to a park or museum, a good meal with friends. It’s everywhere, really.
Who in your life has been the biggest mentor/inspiration in your career?
My first kitchen job was as a dishwasher at a bakery owned by my mother's friend, Madeline MacDonald. This may sound insane because I was washing dishes for 8 hours a day, but I loved it. I loved the feeling of being in the kitchen and the feeling of working hard and being able to actually see the result at the end of the day. Madeline was extremely hard working, educated about pastry, and passionate about what she was doing. She was so fast at everything and I remember thinking, “I really want to impress her”. I saw something in her that I wanted to be- a fierce and confident woman in the kitchen.
What are your hopes for the future of the world of food and pastry?
Fair pay, health insurance, and just better treatment in general. I’ve tried really hard to make John & Kira’s a special place to work. In this business, it’s hard to find a place where you feel valued and actually get basic things like personal time off and sick days. I wish that could be done across the board, so people could actually have a personal life and still thrive in this business.
What is your earliest dessert memory?
As a kid, we went to my Grandmother's house every Friday night to have pizza with the family. After dinner, she would make coffee and put out Entenmann’s cake and donuts for dessert. Not fancy, but absolutely perfect.
If you could pass one bit of insight down to a chef just getting their start, what would it be?
Stay focused, be patient, pay attention to everything that is happening around you in the kitchen. Travel and eat as much as you can.
What is your favorite perk of the Cercle V program?
Meeting fellow chefs at events and classes. I’ve really missed that connection in the last year.
Nickname? My nieces and nephews call me Annie
Celsius or Fahrenheit? celsius at work, fahrenheit at home
Favorite Valrhona Chocolate? P125 Coeur de Guanaja
Favorite restaurant? Laurel in Philly
Favorite flavor pairing with chocolate? coffee
Go-to snack? potato chips
Coffee or Tea? coffee until 12pm, water until 7 pm, wine until bedtime
Favorite kitchen tool? a small rubber spatula