In 2015 Zagat named Parkside’s Aaron Anselmi one of the secret weapons behind the top restaurants in Austin—and for a decidedly good reason. Anselmi has spent his entire career learning and perfecting his skills in the kitchen. A native Austinite, Anselmi grew up heavily influenced by his late mother’s Southern cooking, realizing at an early age that food has the ability to bring people together. At 14, he landed his first job washing dishes at Ferrari’s, a mom and pop spot in Taylor. It didn’t take long for Anselmi to move up to line cook, where he began practicing his craft. He attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin while working as a sous chef at Three Legged Willie’s, learning how to run a kitchen and manage a team. In 2012, Anselmi got a job as a cook at Parkside—Austin’s first gastropub and the brainchild of celebrated chef Shawn Cirkiel—where he immersed himself in the kitchen, including the 15-hour days during SXSW. His dedication and passion put him on the path to success, and Anselmi was promoted to banquet chef, sous chef, and co-chef de cuisine. He learned about farm-to-table dining before it became the norm in Austin and in 2017 staged at two Michelin star rated restaurants in San Francisco—Statebird Provisions and Sons & Daughters. Now as the executive chef of Italian neighborhood eatery Olive and June, he oversees the kitchen staff and all aspects of the menu, from purchasing products to experimenting with the nuanced flavors of simple ingredients. Always happiest around food, Anselmi strives to impart that same feeling to his guests.