To say Ashley Shelton is busy would be an understatement. As the executive chef of not one but two restaurants, life moves at full speed

She said, "If they were in different parts of the city, I would be in trouble."

Ashley, who went to The Culinary Institute of America and spent a year working in Italy, runs the kitchen at Pastaria and Sardella, located right next to eachother in Clayton.

"Certain times can be overwhelming but it can also be fun because I get to run two restaurants with two different menus and get to be creative every single day," she said.

Pastaria is celebrating 5 years in business.

"Our motto is 'Sorta close to Italy.' So I always say, whenever I put a new dish on here, I close my eyes and see myself having it Italy and if I can feel that passion in my heart, then it's a yes," she said.

She's received all sorts of accolades on both the local and national level. She was recently named to the restaurant guide Zagat's 30 under 30 list.

"Shocking, I can't believe this is my life," she said about the honor.

Ashley's known what she wanted to do since she was a teenager. Her mom inspired her to cook.

"My mother was just a really good homecook.. and little bit of a sad story but she passed away when I was 14. And that kind of stuck with me. She loved to cook and I felt this urge to cook," she said.

Ashley became executive chef at Pastaria 2.5 years ago and at Sardella in the Spring.

"Being able to run two Italian restaurnts for Gerard Craft is amazing. The fact that they are in my home town, my husband's family lives here. It's a dream come true," she said.

The Pastaria team planned a fun-filled weekend to celebrate 5 years in business.
You'll find special dishes, prizes and more. It begins tonight.
For more information, visit, pastariastl.com, call 314.862.6603, or go to facebook.com/pastariastl. Pastaria is located at 7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton.