Recipe for success lets pastry chefs at Yardley create concoctions

YARDLEY, PA – Sally Gadea wanted to start a business in her old stomping ground in Bucks County.

Gadea and her husband Jemil both had over 35 years of combined experience in the culinary arts and were seasoned pastry chefs. But starting a bakery and ice cream business hasn’t been so easy despite their impressive credentials.

So they contacted an organization in Bucks County for help. And now Panna Gelateria has been serving delicious treats in the heart of Yardley at 25 S. Main St. since July. The company recently had a inauguration ceremony in the presence of elected officials from the borough to welcome them to the neighbourhood.

“The response of support and enthusiasm from our local community has been overwhelming and wonderful,” said Sally Gadea. “When choosing the location we considered nearby businesses and the local farmers market, but we could never have expected the most important aspect, which is that Yardley has a lot of pride local and shows up for small business.”

With the help of SCORE Bucks County, a business plan and financial projections were created for Panna Gelateria in April 2021.

The couple hold formal culinary arts degrees and have worked for many years in prestigious Washington DC dining establishments.

Jemil even put his skills to the test, beating other chefs to create winning desserts on a 2020 episode of “Chopped Sweets.”

But running a business was a tough challenge with a spatula and a mixing bowl.

“We could never have made this dream a reality without the help of our mentor, Krishna Akella,” the couple said. “We had a dream, but our skills are in the kitchen, not with spreadsheets and financial projections. Krishna spent endless hours patiently walking through the process with us.”

Akella praised the Gadeas for their early success, especially given the challenges of relocating, selling their property in Maryland and raising their daughter, Sofia.

“Congratulations to you both for staying focused and achieving the dream of Panna Gelateria,” Akella said. “Personally, I think you can do anything, or any new dream come true with your combined strength and focus – like selling a million gelatos by the end of this decade.”

Jemil, winner of the 2017 RAMMY Best Pastry Chef in Metro Washington, creates fresh ice cream, while Sally, who has nearly a decade of experience as executive pastry chef at the Hamilton in Washington DC, makes baked goods and manages the business.

The dozen traditional and unique flavors of gelato change weekly. Likewise, Sally likes to keep customers on their toes when it comes to the baked goodies she will have available.

“We don’t stick to any strict menu,” she said. “I don’t want it to be anything too engaging. I like people to be curious. »

Some of the popular items include chocolate chip cookies and galette (a French pastry like tart or tart). Panna also serves homemade pastries and desserts for breakfast, as well as coffee and fresh Italian specialties. Panna takes orders and provides catering service, but does not bake layer cakes, such as birthday cakes.

Looking ahead, Sally hopes to increase the number of days the business is open next spring, add a manager and more staff.

“It’s been a long road, longer than we thought, but it was important to keep going,” the couple said.

She and Jemil also discussed possibly buying a gelato cart to use at weddings, festivals and farmers’ markets. Eventually, they can expand to a second location as well.

“We’re excited to continue to walk this path and see what lies ahead,” she said. “It helps to know that we can contact Krishna or SCORE for help as we grow.”

Since 1964, SCORE has helped over 11 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE provides mentoring and small business workshops to more than 375,000 new and growing small businesses.

With 50 members across the county, SCORE Bucks County provides more than 1,500 free mentoring services each year to local small business owners through one-on-one counseling and small business seminars. To stay up to date on news and events, join the SCORE Bucks County mailing list. Text SCOREBUCKS to 22828.