by Emily Contois
Family is not only a huge part of Gastronomy alumnus John Pladocostante’s life, but also a focal point of his career in food. Originally from Utica, New York, Pladocostante was first introduced to gastronomy at the elbows of his grandparents. “I grew up living in my grandparents’ apartment building. I learned how to care for a garden and make wine with my grandfather, and how to cook and bake with my grandmother,” he says.
Inspired to pursue a culinary career, he received his Bachelor of Culinary Arts degree from Paul Smith’s College, and earned his Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy at Boston University in 2011. One of his favorite courses was Food and Archaeology with Dr. Karen Metheny. He says, “A degree in gastronomy is so much more than food and cooking. The Food and Archaeology course is a great example of exploring food through thousands of years of history. Being able to explore the world of early humans and reconstruct their diet by learning about how plants were first harvested and domesticated helps you to be more of a well rounded culinarian.”
Pladocostante is currently a culinary instructor at Remington College’s Culinary Arts Degree program in Dallas, Texas. He is also well on his way to bringing his MLA thesis to life in Plano, a suburb of Dallas. For his thesis, he created a business proposal for a gourmet Italian foods company. Since graduating, he has started it, calling it Femia after his maternal grandparents. The central theme of family has already come full circle in Pladocostante’s life. With plans to expand Femia into an upscale Italian café in the future, he says, for now, it is satisfying to create a product that people appreciate. Dallas has long been known as a barbeque haven; and much of the young population in Plano tends to frequent chain restaurants and don’t yet demand good quality ingredients. But this means a growing and exciting market for Femia. Pladocostante says, “For people who have never been exposed to true Italian cuisine, or can’t cook, they love buying food that has a story, and that they can share with family and friends. That’s the essence of Italian food, it brings people together to enjoy life.”
John Pladocostante’s story is far from over and we are excited to see where life takes him as he brings sophisticated, high quality, Italian cuisine to the land of barbeque and Tex-Mex.