Since getting his first job in a kitchen at the age of 16 in his hometown of Gainesville, Florida, Chef Stephen Wilson has worked to better his culinary and leadership talents. Since taking over the pastry chef position at The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia in early 2013, he has built a strong pastry team, revamped the banquet and restaurant menus, and continues to improve the baking and pastry experience for every guest that visits the exquisite and historic property. Jill's culinary journey began outside of her hometown of Vineland, New Jersey at age 17 when she got her first kitchen job and has been cooking and baking professionally ever since.
In 2006, Stephen and Jill opened and ran The Sweet Life Bakery in Jill's hometown of Vineland for over six years. They and their team won many awards and accolades, especially for their wedding cakes, but also for their pastries, lunches and for the extensive community service that they engaged in. Their crowning achievement was being named the ‘Food Artisan of the Year’ by the publication Edible Jersey for the entire state of New Jersey, a state with rich culinary traditions.
Prior to moving back to the East Coast to open The Sweet Life Bakery, Stephen worked at the five star, five diamond Ritz-Carlton San Francisco as a pastry cook, as well as at the acclaimed San Francisco bakery/café Citizen Cake under the tutelage of Chef Elizabeth Falkner. Jill worked as the executive pastry chef at the three-star San Francisco restaurant Hawthorne Lane. Prior stints included the Breakers in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton (both in south Florida), as well as The Flying Bridge in Cape Cod and the Hilton in Dedham, Massachusetts.
After leaving San Francisco, Stephen and Jill did a six-month backpacking tour of Europe, eating and learning their way through twelve different countries.
Stephen earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts Management from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, earning the Craig Claiborne Communication Award, Katherine Angel Scholastic Achievement Award, and Student Council Award upon graduation. Jill earned her Associates Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, as well as her Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Norfolk, Virginia. After completing her studies at the Culinary Institute of America, she stayed on at the school as a fellow and teaching assistant, one of only three admitted into this prestigious position in a year.
When not in the kitchen or spending time with their two young kids, Berkeley and Verbena, Stephen and Jill enjoy playing roller derby for the New Jersey league, Shore Points Roller Derby, where Stephen is a referee who plays under the name Riot Earp and Jill is a skater who plays under the name Memento Mori.
Where to find Stephen Wilson online
Your Perfect Wedding Cake
by Stephen Wilson & Jill McClennen
Your Perfect Wedding Cake is the essential guide to creating and finding the wedding cake of your dreams. Written by husband and wife pastry chefs Stephen Wilson and Jill McClennen, this ebook will help guide you through the process of ordering a wedding cake. Also filled with quotes from leading wedding cake professionals, Your Perfect Wedding Cake is a must have for anyone planning a wedding.
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