By the time she was 10 years old Jessie Gilroy was pouring through her mom’s old cookbooks in search of new recipes.
“I started cooking when I was really little. I’ve just always loved cooking, and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said Gilroy, who trained to be a chef at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami.
As a little girl, she dreamed of opening her own restaurant one day and that dream will be realized this fall when Pangea opens its doors in New Town this September.
“This is definitely a dream. I feel like a won the lottery because it’s something that I never thought would happen,” said Gilroy.
The 2,500-square-foot space is located in the heart of New Town in St. Charles at 3245 Rue Royale. The restaurant seats 64 in the main dining room with 11 seats in the bar and additional seating on an outdoor patio during the summer. A friend of Gilroy’s father told her about the available building in New Town and she fell in love with the space—and the community.
“I just loved it. I love New Town,” said Gilroy. “It feels like you’re in another place.”
After training professionally at Le Cordon Bleu, Gilroy completed an internship at Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill in St. Louis. She was offered a job and remained there for a few years before moving to the Tavern Kitchen and Bar West. Her chef experience also included working for Peacemaker Lobster & Crab and the Sidney Street Café.
“I love the fact that it’s something different every day. I never get bored and I never stop learning,” said Gilroy.
Pangea, named after the original supercontinent, will offer an eclectic menu featuring diverse types of foods from around the world. Gilroy will offer diners a cohesive menu of many different styles, flavors and influences in a casual, fine dining atmosphereatmosphere, “which means you don’t have to dress up,” she said..
“You can mix and match different types of food. I truly believe that all food goes together,” said Gilroy.
The chef of 10 years describes her menu as comfort food mixed with “‘fancy”’ food. Some of the recipes include a scallop dish with a very Ethiopian influence. Her foie -gras (duck liver) and waffles are a combined flavors from France and Asia, with a little of Italy mixed in.
“Everybody loves waffles,” said Gilroy. “Some people are scared of foie gras and some people love it…it’s delicious. If you like waffles, you’ll love foie gras and waffles.”
Gilroy will also serve a bone marrow tart with lemon preserves and a tomato jam. A duck breast gyro is also on the menu. Gilroy plans on purchasing fresh, local pork from area farms for some of her dishes.
While her recipes are unique, she believes the menu is very approachable and will encourage diners to try new things.
“I think they’ll have a great meal and try something they haven’t tried before,” said Gilroy “I just want to serve good food, provide great service and make people have a great experience while having a delicious meal that’s affordable. ”