Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series of articles that features accomplished Galt area graduates. If you are interested in being considered as part of this series or you know a GHS or LRHS graduate with notable accomplishments, career or otherwise, please email Faith Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bonnie Rodriguez at email@example.com.
All her life, Gabby Cello has split her time between Galt and Italy. Now that she has decided that her home should be here in Galt with her family, she’s helped to bring a bit of Italy with her. She helped her parents, Lucia and Skip, open Pastosa by Lucia in Galt and continues to help run the restaurant as co-owner and operator.
When Gabby was six months old, she moved with her mother, Lucia, to the Calabria region of Italy and lived there until she was five before returning to Galt. Her mother met Skip at the Galt Flea Market shortly after returning to Galt, and they ran a statuary business until the 2008 recession.
“I’m going to be honest,” Cello said. “While growing up, I could not wait to leave Galt. It seemed quiet and lonely, especially after spending the first five years of my life in the colorful region of Calabria. However, after studying in Milan, I came to miss the support system made up of friends and family I have back home.”
After graduating from Galt High School in 2011, Cello attended community college in the Los Rios District for two years and then transferred to the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. In 2015, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. She then went on to study global management at Bocconi University in Milan.
Cooking and food have always had an important place in Cello’s life.
“I loved being my mother’s taste tester, and I loved seeing simple ingredients turn into a complex dish. We had an island in our kitchen, which overlooked the area in front of the stove. I would do homework and my mom would cook – every night,” she said. “Cooking is a therapeutic activity for my family. While I was still in school, my parents would send me to Italy in the summers. All my aunts and cousins would get together to can our own tomatoes. The amazing aroma alone made me gain a whole new appreciation for homemade food.”
So when she returned to Galt after studying in Milan, she saw an opportunity to utilize the knowledge she had gained in school, to realize her dream of owning a business, and to bring her family’s love of food to Galt. Doing so alongside her parents was a bonus.
“I know I can always count on my parents to do a good job. We make a good team so it’s a pleasure working with [them],” she said, adding that sometimes they are so focused on work that they sometimes forget they can talk about things not related to the restaurant. “It’s hard to escape work when you operate a business with your family.”
Pastosa opened Jan. 17, 2018 and prides itself on its homemade pasta and sauces. Since opening, the restaurant has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, maintaining a five-star rating on Facebook and four and a half stars on Google.
“I would say our biggest distinguishing factor is that we produce our own food. A lot of Italian restaurants charge extremely high prices for dry pasta they buy at the store. I never understood this,” she said. “We wanted to give our customers homemade pasta at an honest price.”
As co-owner and operator, Cello wears many hats, but she considers herself more part of the team than the boss.
“Everyone contributes in every way,” she said. “Some days I’m meeting with vendors and clients, and others I’m making salads.”
Cello is currently taking film and graphic design classes, and hopes to use what she learns there to advertise Pastosa and start a blog on their website. She is also working to launch a catering branch of Pastosa.
“I would like to partner with surrounding wineries. I plan on taking sommelier classes so that I can effectively pair their wines with our food,” Cello said.
Down the road she would like to expand the business into a line of food products available in stores.
“That may take some time,” she admitted. “I’m not sure. I’m letting life take me where it wants to.”