Chef Biography

Adriana Giramonti was born in Presenzano, Italy on May 24, 1929.  She grew up in a small Italian village near Monte Cassino. The fear, the noise of combat, and, above all, the hunger, form a somber backdrop to her daily life and give impetus to her cooking. When the German troops began their retreat, they stripped the village of food and material. “We were always hungry” Adriana once said. Her favorite story was receiving a kiss on the cheek from Mussolini for winning an art prize.

She moved to Rome after the war, and with her mother Clotilde Silvestri, learned how to feed large groups of people, simply and well.  One of five children, she quickly acquired a familiarity with the Roman markets and with recipes that were quick, yet wonderfully flavorful.

In 1956, she moved to the USA’s North Beach in San Francisco and eventually met her husband, Nino, a waiter in several San Francisco restaurants. She worked at Little Joe’s for over 15 years before opening Giramonti’s in 1977.  Their menus, as well as the outdoor sign bear the initials S.P.Q.R., the inscription seen throughout Rome on public works and municipal buildings.  The letters represented the Latin motto translated roughly as “FOR THE PEOPLE of ROME” a phrase perfectly descriptive of Adriana’s Roman culinary heritage and cooking method, which was essentially home-style permeated by love and intelligent care.

In 1982, the Great Chefs television team showed up in Mill Valley to tape Chef Adriana Giramonti for their second PBS television series, Great Chefs of San Francisco, which aired in 1983.  It has since aired on the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and currently is seen around the world on FoodPlanet, Twitch and SmallScreenTV.  In 1985 she opened Adriana’s in San Rafael, California.

On June 6th, 2016, Chef Adriana Giramonti passed away at the age of 87.


Linguini Deliziose

Serving: 6 to 8 Print Linguini Deliziose By Great Chefs November 19, 2015 Pink prawns and rosy salmon julienne are combined with linguine — deliziose, indeed! The sauce is created from mushrooms, wine, garlic, butter, and other good things. Crusty bread and salad are all that are needed. Okay, maybe some wine… Ingredients Linguini – […]

Artichokes Roman Style

Serving: 4 Print Artichokes Roman Style By Great Chefs November 18, 2015 Recalling antipasti from her native Rome, Adriana Giramonti’s artichokes are cooked in a mixture of garlic, marjoram, lemon juice, and chicken stock — chicken stock is one of her staples. Giramonti is closed now, but Adriana’s recipes remain as a tribute to the […]

Strawberries Italian Style

Serving: 10 to 12 Print Strawberries Italian Style By Great Chefs November 18, 2015 For this delicious and simple dessert, Adriana marinated sliced berries in sugar, citrus juice, and wines. This dessert looks wonderful when served in pretty glasses. Adriana suggests using the same recipe with peaches, or even combining strawberries and peaches. Ingredients Strawberries […]

Veal Adriana

Serving: 6 Print Veal Adriana By Great Chefs November 18, 2015 Adriana loved to cook with veal in her restaurant. The tender meat is the perfect foil for many flavors. For this, Adriana’s personal version, she adds a Dijon mustard sauce with a dash of lemon. Ingredients Mustard Sauce Dijon mustard – 2 to 3 […]

Crostini with Chicken Livers

Serving: 6 Print Crostini with Chicken Livers By Great Chefs November 17, 2015 A wonderful dish for a buffet, this simple pate of chicken livers is the perfect spread for crisp crostini; three chopped toppings give guests a number of do-it-yourself options. If you make this ahead of time, store it in the refrigerator. Return […]

Marinated Eggplant

Serving: 4 to 6 Print Marinated Eggplant By Great Chefs November 17, 2015 Sauteed eggplant slices are stacked with garlic-rosemary marinade and marinated until they turn into a “cake” of eggplant slices. This can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. As an option, you could put the slices in small individual ramekins, making […]

Empress Mushrooms

Serving: 4 Print Empress Mushrooms By Great Chefs November 17, 2015 Stuffed mushrooms are always one of the first appetizers to be snapped up. These, with their Prosciutto filling and Parmigiano cheese, have a distinctly Italian flavor. If you’re serving them for a party, make a lot! Ingredients Mushrooms – 16 medium Onion – 1 […]

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