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Ron James Join’s Tornatore’s as Pastry Chef

Written By Scott Joseph On May 18, 2020

Tornatore trio

Following the permanent closing of his award-winning College Park bakery, Sugarbuzz Dezert Company, Ron James has accepted the position of pastry chef at nearby Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzeria. James joins owner Denny Tornatore and executive chef Jason Wolfe in the operation as it expands to offer an Italian market next door to the restaurant.

“I met Ron about 8 years ago at a farmers market and absolutely fell in love with his desserts and started selling some of them at my restaurant,” Tornatore said in an email. “I was saddened to hear the news of Sugarbuzz closing and that’s when I made him the offer to join our team at Tornatore’s to elevate our dessert game to the next level.”

“I have been making cheesecake for Denny for eight years,” James said by phone Monday. He said that when he told Tornatore that he was closing his bakery and going out of busienss, Tornatore said, “No you’re not; you’re coming to work for me.”

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Sugarbuzz Dezert Company started as a farmers market stand selling cheesecake in 2011 when James was still at his job as merchandise presentation manager at Walt Disney World. Six years ago, James opened the retail space. Sugarbuzz won the 2018 Foodster Award for Best Dessert.

Tornatore cannoli

Besides redesigning the dessert menu for the restaurant, James will be making desserts and pastries to be sold in the upcoming market that Tornatore is opening. James said that when he announced he was closing the bakery, he heard from several customers who lamented that they could no longer get Sugarbuzz’s cookies. “We were known for our cookies,” he said. Those cookies will now have an outlet in the market, alongside fresh pastas, imported olive oils, sausages and ice cream. The market is expected to open soon, depending on Orange County inspections.

Tornatore duo

Tornatore’s has been upping its game ever since it was featured on the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible program. The hiring a few months ago of Wolfe (right in photo above with James), former sous chef at now-closed K Restaurant, and now James make this a restaurant to watch.

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