Chef Joan's Italian heritage

Chef Joan's Italian heritage

You might say that the culinary field has been in Joan Angelis’ family for generations. Growing up with Italian immigrant grandparents, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, holiday meals were always an extravaganza, with Ravioli, Gnocchi, Risotto, Cappelletti, salads, a plethora of meats and cheeses, Italian cookies, and much, much more, all made from scratch with recipes handed down through the generations. One grandfather ran a restaurant, as did an uncle and two cousins. Another cousin has worked as a caterer.

Joan earned a Master’s degree in teaching the visually impaired from Boston College and taught children until taking a break to raise two daughters. A strong work ethic and a focus on detail led to leadership positions with Girl Scouts, schools, churches, neighborhood groups, run clubs and book clubs. During visits to Italy years ago, Joan met a number of relatives from Umbria, north of Rome, cementing her passion for Mediterranean food. She has travelled all over the world, experiencing food from many cultures in Europe, the Caribbean, South and Central America, among others.

Closer to home, Joan fell in love with the abundance of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables that can be found in farmer’s markets in places like Hawaii and California. The endless varieties of fish, along with the prevalence of Asian ingredients further fueled the metamorphosis of her cooking style. Together, the “fusion of Mediterranean and Californian cuisine” was born. A healthy lifestyle has always been important to Joan, whether it be with food or completing a marathon and a number of triathlons, skiing, yoga, walking or kayaking.

In 2005, after her oldest daughter left for college, daily family dinners ended up being either totally gourmet or take-out, nothing in-between. Joan reveled in planning extravagant menus for holidays and parties – for her own family and for every friend who happened to have a special occasion. She found working with food to be not only a stress reliever, but also an avenue for undiscovered creative expression. During the last year of high school for her younger and last of two daughters, Joan began dreaming of doing something with her food passion. After a tour of the Art Institutes International, in downtown Minneapolis, she was sold immediately. In June of 2009, Joan graduated from the Art Institute, with honors, and an Associates degree in Culinary Arts, winning “Best of Show” in the Portfolio Show. One of her favorite things is chopping fresh herbs and cutting precise garnishes.

“Angel in the Kitchen” brings together a passion for food, but also represents Chef Joan’s very own ethnic background. The original family name was “Marinangeli,” or “sea angel,” in Italian. So, if you just have no time or energy to cook, or if you’d like to impress your friends with a delightful presentation of flavorful, healthy food, remember that with Chef Joan Angelis, your Angel is in the kitchen!