True Delicious is baking health-conscious cookies in Petaluma
Like so many of Petaluma’s hidden gems, True Delicious is a baking company born of passion and based on the idea of using healthy ingredients to produce a superior product.
Italian immigrant Antonio Russo found a home in a local commercial kitchen, tucked away in an inconspicuous building along Payran Street’s industrial corridor. He not only shares space, but also collaborates with Pilar Mcgoldrick Bernard and her Mariposa Ice Creamery, developing and producing the cookies for their ice cream sandwiches, as well as passing along his lemons and oranges once he has zested them for his biscotti and cakes.
When coming up with the name for his new company, Antonio Russo wanted to pay homage to both the ingredients that are the foundation of his brand, as well as the flavor of his finished product.
Antonio’s initial product was Italian cakes, marketed directly to restaurants who either did not have their own pastry chef or did not want to serve previously frozen products, and a growing line of biscotti.
Antonio grew up in Torre Del Greco, near Naples. He has loved to bake for as long as he can remember. As early as 4, Antonio was given the excess dough and his own spot to experiment, which is where his love for baking was born. Both of his parents are excellent cooks, with his father being a world famous baker.
At a certain point, Antonio became unsure if he wanted to go into the same business because he saw that while everyone else was out having fun on holidays and weekends, his father was working hard to make the baked goods that enhanced those festivities. So Antonio struck out on his own, moving the New York City in 1998 to study advertising at the famed Fashion Institute of Technology.
He picked classes that he thought would help him best in the marketing world and ended up landing a job at a prestigious advertising firm in Rome. He parlayed that experience into a position with a firm closer to his home of Naples where he worked on marketing for major national brands.
In 2009, Antonio met his American wife, a San Anselmo native, who was on a month-long culinary study trip in Italy. Antonio says with pride that his American wife stands side-by-side with any of his Italian relatives in the kitchen. The two were married in 2011 and moved back to the U.S. in 2012.
When Antonio and his wife first moved back from Italy, they settled in Altadena, which is outside of Pasadena, where Antonio picked up a job marketing for an Italian equestrian company. The job required quite a bit of travel, so when the news arrived that he and his wife were expecting a baby, he decided it was time for a change. In 2015, the young family decided to move back north to be closer to his in-laws, who still live in Marin County.
“I have always been a business guy,” says Antonio, “but I had to get back into food because that is where my passion lies.”
Looking for a new challenge and not wanting to travel so much for work, Antonio found a commercial kitchen in Petaluma and set out to introduce local diners to his Italian cakes. He knew from experience that he could quickly make a living supplying local restaurants with fresh cakes, and within a week he already had his hands full with plenty of orders.