Tom Ponticelli is the pastry chef at Davio’s. Unlike many in his field, Ponticelli’s first calling was not food. Ponticelli, a native of Massachusetts, earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1970 in English Literature from St. Anslem College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
He then went on to earn his graduate degree at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Not truly of the librarian mindset, Ponticelli realized that creative cooking was more to his liking and in 1973, switched careers by applying for a job in the kitchen of a restaurant. He remained in Iowa until 1979, working his way up in a variety of positions including waiter, Baker, Assistant Chef and Head Chef.
In 1979, Ponticelli, eager to return home in order to be near his family, assumed the position of Head Chef at the Monadnock Inn in Jaffrey Center, New Hampshire. Always learning new tricks of the trade along the way, Ponticelli realized his fondness for food was especially inventive when working with pastries and desserts.
In 1983, he began working at Il Dolce Momento in Boston, an Italian and European café featuring fresh baked pastries, breads and desserts. Here, Ponticelli worked with a third generation ice cream master from Florence, Italy and learned techniques for making fine gelato, sorbetto and regional Italian desserts. In 1985, an opportunity to work in the kitchen at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston was just too good to pass up and Ponticelli began as a pastry cook then worked his way up to Pastry Chef in 1992; a position he would hold for ten years. During his tenure as Pastry Chef, the Four Seasons Hotel Boston, and its famed restaurant Aujourd’hui, garnered a five diamond and five star rating.
Wanting a change after seventeen years in the same pastry kitchen, in 2002 Ponticelli was curious to hear about the possibility of working for the new, large Davio’s restaurant which was under construction around the corner from the Four Seasons Hotel. After meeting with owner Steve DiFillippo and reviewing plans for the expansive kitchen and separate bakery complete with a large public viewing window, Ponticelli knew he found a new home where his creativity could flourish.
Ponticielli is excited about his expanded role of running the two separate bakeries. “I enjoy working in the busy atmosphere – I’ve never seen a restaurant so busy – I love it! I’ve also been afforded a great staff in both restaurants. I enjoy nurturing, just as I have been taught along the way,” he stated. Ponticelli lives with his wife and two teenage sons in Braintree.