Growing up in a big Italian family, food has always played a large and important role in my life. I have seen how food can bring people together in good times and bad. It can create bonds, tell stories, and pass on traditions. The professional kitchen has become an extension of my own kitchen, and the people whom I’ve met there are an extension of my own family. In fact, most of my friends are cooks. Both of my sisters, both my brother in laws work in restaurants, and it is where I met my wife.
Starting in the hospitality industry at 15 years old in 1990,
I have been fortunate to work with and learn from many amazing people – from my early days as a waiter, to traveling the country with Tommy Bahamas’s, to my eventual landing as Head Chef of The Mangrove Café in Naples, FL. This business can teach you something everyday, as long as you are willing to learn. All of those experiences and lessons have led me to my present position of overseeing all of our company’s kitchens, and yet I can still find ways to be inspired every day.
My personal style has continued to grow, now focusing on my love for local, ethnic cuisines with bold flavors governed by the Italian philosophy of using pure ingredients with simple presentations while always allowing the food to speak for itself. Our partnership with Worden Farm (USDA Certified Organic), in Punta Gorda, has allowed me a great opportunity to put part of that food philosophy into action while being connected to the process and source of our products.
There are many rewarding aspects of working in the restaurant business – one of the nicest being the opportunity to really reach people. We host many celebrations, from birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and weddings, to the everyday celebration of life.
By choosing River City Grill, our guests invite us chefs to be a part of their memories. I feel fortunate to work in a field which involves pursuing my passion, and I am very proud to have been a part of the re-birth of Downtown Punta Gorda and its dining scene. Since 2003, we have been Charlotte County’s restaurant of choice, and we hope to preserve that distinction for years to come.