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Meet the Chefs : Stephen & Jill

Meet the Chefs : Stephen & Jill

Have you ever had a taste of something that stopped you in your tracks?

 Perhaps a forkful of an incredibly delicate tiramisu during a date night, or an unexpected sensation after popping an hors d'oeuvres from a passing plate at a wedding.  There is that movie scene moment where you close your eyes and, just for that second, fully focus on the flavors dancing through your taste buds.  To eat is to survive, but to dine - oh, to dine is to live! 

Stephen Wilson and Jill McClennon are those stop-in-your-tracks kinds of chefs whose passion for food is paired with their love of life and the open nature of their personalities. We should know - we've worked with them, we've befriended them, we've hired them and we've learned some secret kitchen weapons from them. Now, we are proud to share them and their work in an event that features what they do best - a Farm to Table Dinner here at A Milkhouse Party.

With fresh ingredients provided by Sorbello Farms CSA, we are drooling with anticipation to see what kind of meal our talented friends will create for us to feast on.  But don't just take our word for it - we've provided the extensive background that proves that there is some high-end dining that's about to take place on Saturday, July 29th at 6PM.

Jill & Stephen Wilson during a photo shoot by Love Story Studios.

Jill & Stephen Wilson during a photo shoot by Love Story Studios.

It all began in New York.

The couple's studies in the culinary arts include formal training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.  Stephen graduated with his Bachelor's Degree and earned the Craig Claiborne Communication Award, Katherine Angel Scholastic Achievement Award and Student Council Award.  After earning her Associate's Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Norfolk, Virginia, Jill also earned her Associate's Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts at the Culinary Institute of America.  She chose to stay on as a fellow and teaching assistant - a prestigious position offered to only 3 students a year. 

With a list of degrees and years of study between them, the couple took off on their journey to share their talents with the world.  They started in San Francisco - Stephen started working at the 5-star, 5 diamond Ritz-Carlton as well as at Citizen Cake under Chef Elizabeth Falkner and Jill became the executive chef at Hawthorne Lane. Their edible journey also took them throughout Florida, Massachusetts and a 6-month/12-country backpacking tour of "eating our way through Europe."  

After years of travelling, studying, eating and perfecting their skills...

 Jill and Stephen's free spirits eventually led them to settle back in Jill's hometown in nearby Vineland, NJ.  You may have heard of them from their 6-year ownership of The Sweet Life Bakery.  If you look them up, you'll page through hundreds of reviews praising not only the flavorful dishes and desserts that they provided their following, but also their warm personalities, their impeccable customer service and their authenticity.  

During the lifespan of The Sweet Life, the couple won many awards and accolades from their community for both their work and their service contributions.  Among the awards included "Food Artisan of the Year" by Edible Jersey - for those of you not familiar, it could also be known as "Kind Of A Big Deal."  

Sweet Life Bakery logo and award
Wizard of Oz Wedding Cakes by The Sweet Life Bakery // Photo by Tami & Ryan Photography.

Wizard of Oz Wedding Cakes by The Sweet Life Bakery // Photo by Tami & Ryan Photography.

As they became parents to two young children, the couple made the decision to close the doors to the bakery. Stephen went on to spend 3 years at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, and Jill now works for a non-profit in Camden, teaching adults baking and pastry skills, transitioning them into jobs in the marketplace.  Today, you'll find them with their children, Berkeley and Verbena, their flower gardens, their beehives or enjoying the food and drink scene of Philadelphia.  

We are so proud to offer you the opportunity to experience firsthand the culinary work of this couple - it's not often you'll get to dine on dishes crafted from chefs with such extensive background and experience.  Pairing their skills with Sorbello's ingredients and our ambiance, our Farm to Table dinner will surely be a night to remember. 

 

 

 

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