Pastaria Jai Kendall

Jai Kendall is the new executive chef of Pastaria.

Following last month's news that executive chef Ashley Shelton would depart for Annie Gunn's, Pastaria has named its new executive chef.

Jai Kendall will take the reins of Gerard Craft's lauded pizza and pasta restaurant on May 1.

"There are a thousand things I'm excited about," Kendall says. "I'm excited to be a part of a team and a concept that really embodies food." 

A former professional baker, Kendall moved back to St. Louis last fall after spending five years in Costa Rica cooking for families. Before being named executive chef of Pastaria, she worked as the executive sous chef at the new Clayton outpost of Peel Wood Fired Pizza.

Kendall says her experiences in Costa Rica allowed her to go back to the basics of cooking and make the simplicity of ingredients shine – something she plans to incorporate into the spring and summer menus of Pastaria. 

"Italian is something that I've always appreciated and admired," Kendall says. "I was really blessed in Costa Rica to be able to not only work with really fresh and amazing produce but also to grow as well." 

Pastaria, 7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, Missouri, 314.862.6603,