Rising Star Chef Bryan Sikora of a.kitchen - Biography
Bryan Sikora’s cooking experience ranges far and wide. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Sikora devoted much of his career to traveling and working in kitchens across the United States. Working on Cape Cod’s Chatham Bars Inn, Sikora mastered the restaurant’s then-Austrian inspired cuisine. He went on to make tapas in Portland for the Kimpton Group and cooked an all-organic menu while working with Nora Pouillon at Nora’s in Washington, D.C. Sikora finally headed back to Philadelphia, where he created Morroccan feasts at Tangerine.
While traveling around the country, Sikora met and married his wife, Aimee Olexy. After working at Tangerine, then 30-year-old Sikora realized he longed for the spontaneity and personalization of a small restaurant, so he and his wife created a venue of their own where Sikora could have full creative license and run his own show. Together, Sikora and Olexy opened Django, an intimate and food driven 36-seat restaurant, where Sikora earned a 2004 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award. Django, named after the great jazz guitarist and composer, Django Reinhardt, was a popular spot for diners as far out as Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg. After closing Django in 2008, Sikora moved around to several city locales before settling at a.kitchen, a casual bistro inside AKA Rittenhouse Square.
Sikora’s success is, in large part, due to the fact that he doesn’t believe in culinary short cuts - this labor-intensive philosophy is evident in his cuisine. From baking his own bread to making his own pastas, pastries, and even pickles, Sikora subscribes to the “old world” European philosophy of cooking. Sikora’s cuisine also centers on purchasing local and fresh top-quality ingredients from regional farmers, whom he credits on his daily menus.