chef-name: Francesco Ricchi

Towards the end of World War II in 1944, in the centuries-old village of Cercina, just north of Florence, Umberto Consigli had built a home and general store. He had added a few dining tables in the back of the store, and his wife Ceaserina would go out and look for customers. Consigli’s daughter Irma married Biagio Ricchi, and they grew the business into a trattoria. Their son, Francesco Ricchi, grew up in that kitchen, peeling potatoes before he could even reach the table. Trained by his grandmother, the Florence University educated Francesco Ricchi turned the family operation into a successful restaurant that still attracts the accolades of people, seeking the special combination of country ambience and good food.

In 1989, Chef Ricchi, a frequent visitor to the DC Metro area, brought his culinary skills to the District and opened Restorante I Ricchi. Great Chefs taped the chef in 1993 at I Ricchi, preparing an Oven Roasted Pork and Rabbit for their Great Chefs of the East series (episode # 8), which would later be aired on the Discovery Channel. Chef Ricchi and his grandfather hunted rabbits back in Italy, which they made into stew, and he still uses the same recipe at Cesco Trattoria in Bethesda, Maryland, which he opened in 1997. He closed it in 2011, only to reopen as CESCO osteria & Co2 Lounge.

In 2000, he opened a second restaurant in Washington DC, Etrusco where Great Chefs returned to tape Chef Ricchi preparing Italian Flat Bread “Foccacia” for their Great Chefs-Great Cities series (episode # 8), and Tortelloni Filled with Ricotta and Greens for their Great Chefs of America series, (episode # 173).

Chef Ricchi continues to accumulate awards and is happiest when he is with his family and friends eating something he prepared, because it was made with love.