After working as a server for several years and teaching himself to cook, Jon Deutschle knew he wanted to be a chef by the time he was 21 years old. “While I was a server, I would teach myself to cook just because I liked to do it,” Deutschle said. “Eventually, working in restaurants that long and watching other cooks and chefs work, I just realized at a certain point that was what I wanted to do.”

What he didn’t know was that serendipity would bring him to Marcella’s Ristorante, Pizzeria & Wine Bar.

“I was out looking for a job, and I applied at Cap City,” Deutschle said. “Marcella’s had just opened up, and I knew they were looking for somebody, so I walked in and applied. The rest is history.”

Ever since becoming Executive Chef in 2010, Deutschle has worked hard to make Marcella’s the best it can be. “We’re fine-tuning a lot of our line cooks and their skills. We’ve worked on fine-tuning our dishes a lot, too, and making good recipes better,” Deutschle said.

Of these recipes, diner favorites include chicken parmesan, gnocchi with lamb bolognese, chicken piccata, and the Margherita pizza, which Deutschle says is “by far the most popular.”

Deutschle is also proud of the organization he’s brought to the financial side of the restaurant. “We’re very well-organized and fiscally profitable,” he said.

Sure to continue the financial success, Deutschle is currently in the process of planning new menu items that Marcella’s will add in the summer. “The spring is going to be a lot of development going on. We’re still at the drawing table,” he said. “Some dishes we just want to tweak, and a couple things we want to change completely. I want to add a few proteins. Hanger steak is something that I’ve recently become aware of, and I’m quite fond of it.”

Deutschle also looks forward to taking advantage of supporting local farms. “I do often try to get products locally,” he said. “In the summertime when the tomatoes are very nice, we go to a farm a little north of us and get some great heirloom tomatoes.”

In all, you’d be hard pressed to hear anything but positivity from Deutschle about Marcella’s. “I love the environment, everything about it. The people that work here, the neighborhood that we’re in, how loud it gets and how lively it gets, and how much fun people have here,” he said. “Honestly, I think so far in my career, one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had is the day I started working at Marcella’s.”

For more information about the Short North Gala, click here. Buy tickets here or to reserve a table, call (614) 299.8050.

– Michelle Gibson