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Circa and Plate | Philadelphia, PA


When Angela Tustin was in high school, she did what many young kids do; she took a part-time job at Dunkin Donuts. While most kids just work for the free doughnuts and extra cash, Tustin did not. She delighted in every opportunity to dip pastries into pink icing and roll them in multicolored sprinkles. It was a kid's dream come true and an aspiring pastry chef’s heaven. Now all grown up, her palette may be more defined and mature, but Tustin is still a kid at heart.

After graduating from the Restaurant School with an associate’s degree in Pastry Arts, Tustin secured an internship at Le Bec-Fin with the acclaimed Bobby Bennett, and later worked in the kitchen of The Four Seasons' Fountain Restaurant and Swann Lounge, under the tutelage of renowned French Master Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix and his executive pastry chef, Eddie Hales. She was then lured by David Mantelmacher to work alongside Executive Chef Tom Harkins as pastry chef at Circa, a restaurant and popular nightspot along the city's tony restaurant row.

While desserts remain her forte, Tustin and Harkins occasionally exchange toques at Circa, with the pastry chef now engaging in the preparation of savory foods, and the executive chef dabbling in desserts. It promises to be an exciting time for the restaurant's menu — and especially for its patrons.

Tustin also serves as pasty chef at Plate, where the menu is best described as contemporary comfort food, a seamless blend of homestyle and sophisticated ingredients that produces unexpected dishes. Tustin's desserts at Plate complement the savory specialties with an equal measure of imagination and playfulness. She makes everything from scratch and insists on always using in-season fruits for a colorful burst of fresh flavors as well as only the finest quality chocolate. Even though Tustin is surrounded by her own sweet creations most days of the week, she may still stop by her old stomping grounds and pick up one or two Dunkin Donuts.


 Published: May 2004