- Terelle Jerricks
By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor
Trusela’s Ristorante has built a stellar reputation for great food and great service throughout the past few years, a testament to Bob Trusela’s three decades in the hospitality industry. But within the past several months, patrons have been going home with an even warmer and fuzzier feeling than usual.
The loyal Trusela’s following have 21-year-old assistant kitchen manager and pastry chef, Gail Galletti, to thank for that. With each and every dessert her stated aim is “to make people happy.”
Trusela didn’t build his stellar reputation in the hospitality industry on sentimentality and didn’t hire her because she was family, which she is. She’s Josephine Russo (Bob’s wife and other half of Trusela’s) niece. He saw a gift in her.
Gail can bake any sort of pie, cake, custard or whatever you can imagine, but she prefers her desserts to exude simplicity. Though her desserts often look like a work of art, every dish is a science
It’s common that a regular patron would walk in and ask what the day’s dessert special was. Sometimes Gail would have a warm pie straight from the oven and they would say, “okay I’ll try that.” Gail gets almost bubbly when a patron or fan wants to try everything she makes.
Gail began cooking with her grandmother as a child and has worked in various capacities in the family restaurants since she was a teenager. She ultimately attended and graduated from Cordon Bleu, then did a 3-month stint as an intern at Neon Food Co. before being hired by Santa Monica Seafood. She didn’t originally go to school to become pastry chef, that came via on the job training.
When you go to culinary school, you can either become an all around chef or a pastry chef. She chose the former route but coming to love pastry making later. She recalled that she was the only one in her class that enjoyed the pastry making experience.
When you’re baking, you have to have a certain temperature, certain measurements, you have to know that some ingredients that go together and others don’t. You have to creme the butter and sugar a certain way. You have to be precise, she explained.
Gail’s signature dessert is the “Cake-pop,” which is essentially a frozen cake on a stick dipped in chocolate. She explained that when it’s in this state, you can decorate it to fit any occasion.
“My dream is to open a bake shop and incorporate a lot of Italian desserts cake-pops, cupcakes and mini desserts with a coffee shop feel,” she explained.
She doesn’t feel the need to get too fancy, aiming for simplicity in taste and style. It either tastes good or it doesn’t.
Gail’s dream of opening a place of her own is inspired by the example of cupcake maven, Candace Nelson, who founded Sprinkles Cupcake in 2005.
Sprinkles’ innovative use of rich and natural ingredients and their sheer variety of cupcakes allowed the business to grow into a company with stores across the country. Nelson was able to parlay that success into cable television success as judge on Cupcake Wars on the FoodNetwork Channel.
Nelson judges the the country’s top cupcake bakers as they face off in three elimination challenges until only one remains. The prize: $10,000 and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at the winning gig. Whether a special Ace of Cakes anniversary celebration, a star-studded magazine party or an A-list celebrity golf tournament.
“There is so much competition out there and I need to find the right spot to open it,” she said. “Candace did what I wanted to do.”
Though she’s young, Gail isn’t far from meeting her competition and making dessert enthusiasts search for her latest creations the world over.