JACQUELINE PECCINA-KELLY (Chef Jacquie), Owner, Taste 4 Travel
Almost no one knows Philadelphia’s Italian Market like Jacqueline “Chef Jacquie” Peccina- Kelly does. In addition to growing up in South Philly, Peccina-Kelly gives food tours of Ninth Street, offering participants an insider’s guide (and a smorgasbord of samples) as they meet the shopkeeps, butchers and cheesemongers who have made this one of America’s top culinary tourist attractions for generations.
After culinary school and cooking in restaurants for a time, Peccina-Kelly stepped away from restaurant kitchens when her kids were born. She had always been famous among her friends for adding spectacular food itineraries to their European vacations. When her kids had grown and she decided to resume her career, Peccina-Kelly wanted to turn her passion for food and travel into a business.
“I had a very wise friend advise me to start close to home, go back to my roots, and bring people to the Italian Market,” she says. Ninth Street tours still represent the bulk of her business, but she leads tours in other Philadelphia neighborhoods and takes travelers overseas about once a year.
In her own kitchen, Peccina-Kelly likes to keep things simple. Her favorite cookbook is a classic— Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook Menus (Clarkson Potter, 1992). The chef ’s South Philly roots influence not only her tour business, but also her home cooking: Stewart’s recipe for a veggie-heavy take on good old sausage and peppers is one Peccina-Kelly makes for her family again and again.