Chef Biography

On August 17th, 2016, I drove out to Metairie, Louisiana to revisit my old friend, Great Chef Goffredo Fraccaro, now 91 years old, who was the sixth chef we ever taped for our first Great Chefs of New Orleans series. Chef Goffredo was born in Genoa, Italy in 1925.  His father was Swiss/German and his mother was from Genoa.  Think about it!  1925, the world was at peace, and Germany and Europe were recovering from WW I.  Fifteen years later, with still no running water, let alone electricity, Goffredo, at the age of 15, was assigned by his mother to help cook for their large family.  In 1942, at age 17, he was drafted as a cook into the Italian Navy.  A year later, as WWII turned, the Germans took over the Italian Navy, and Goffredo, who spoke both German and Italian because of his parents, was elevated in the kitchen ranks of the Navy to Chef. After the war, he worked in the kitchens of various cruise ships, but always wanted to travel to the United States.

In 1961, he was aboard a ship that was to come to New Orleans, but it docked instead at Baton Rouge.  Meanwhile, Vince Distefano, who was tired of getting busted in New Orleans for card games and betting the horses, bought a 7-acre fishing lodge on Airline Highway outside of Baton Rouge beyond the long arm of the law, and opened his betting parlor.  There were so many cars out front that travelers thought it was a restaurant, so they re-opened it as a restaurant, hired Chef Goffredo, and renamed the betting parlor the Village Restaurant.

Nine years later in 1969, Chef Goffredo wanted to move to New Orleans and open his own restaurant.  Il Ristorante Tre Fontane (The Restaurant of the Three Fountains) opened in Exchange Alley in the French Quarter (now the location of the Pelican Club).  It was not successful for several reasons, but three years later in 1972, he decided to move out to the suburbs and opened La Riviera Restaurant.  The Great Chefs television crew showed up there in 1981 to tape Chef Fraccaro for their first Great Chefs television series on PBS called Great Chefs of New Orleans I.  He was featured in several other Great Chefs shows, including Great Italian Chefs.  In early 2000, after his sous chef, Arthur, passed away, Chef Goffredo sold La Riviera to his nephew and it closed permanently in 2005, after taking on water following Hurricane Katrina.


John Shoup

Executive Producer


Rum Cake

Serving: 12 to 14 Print Rum Cake By Great Chefs December 10, 2015 This gorgeous cake, iced with whipped cream and decorated with toasted almonds, has a surprise inside: it is filled with vanilla pastry cream, and the cake layers are soaked with cherry-rum filling. When you drain a bottle of maraschino cherries for the […]


Serving: 6 to 8 Print Scampi By Great Chefs November 16, 2015 Large shrimp, sauteed in butter and herbs, are served with a simple accompaniment of parsley and lemon. They could also be served chilled with dressed greens for a luncheon dish. Ingredients Herb Sauce Garlic Clove – 1, minced Oregano – 1 teaspoon, minced […]

Fettuccine alla Goffredo

Serving: 4 Print Fettuccine alla Goffredo By Great Chefs November 16, 2015 This a classic pasta, fresh fettuccine tossed with sauce of butter, cream, and Parmesan. Serve as a separate course. Ingredients Fettuccine Noodles Flour – 6 cups Eggs – 4 Water – 1/2 cup Semolina flour for dusting Sauce Unsalted Butter – 1/2 cup, […]

Caponata alla Siciliana

Serving: 4 Print Caponata alla Siciliana By Great Chefs November 16, 2015 After World War II, young Goffredo Fraccaro dreamed of going to America, of being a chef. Apprenticing, he set about achieving his dream, and in the process brought his knowledge of traditional Italian dishes to the U.S. with him. This caponata is one […]

Veal Piccata

Serving: 6 Print Veal Piccata By Great Chefs November 16, 2015 Veal Piccata is a classic Italian dish, thin scallops of veal cooked with lemon and butter. It is best when it can come straight from the stove to the table. The good news is that it cooks very quickly. Ingredients Veal Scallops – 12 […]


Print Brociolone By Great Chefs November 16, 2015 Plump veal rolls are stuffed with bread crumbs, herbs, and chopped boiled eggs. Simmered in fresh tomato sauce, they are served whole, covered with the sauce. If you wish to make a more formal presentation, slice the rolls on the diagonal and overlap the slices on the […]

Broccoli Italian Style

Serving: 8 Print Broccoli Italian Style By Great Chefs November 16, 2015 Garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese add an Italian touch to broccoli florets. Ingredients Broccoli – 1 head Water – 1 quart Salt – 1 tablespoon Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons Garlic – 1 teaspoon, minced Freshly ground pepper to taste Freshly Ground […]

Custard Cups with Strega

Serving: 8 Print Custard Cups with Strega By Great Chefs November 16, 2015 Strega is a much-loved Italian liqueur. It has digestive qualities, and is made with fennel, mint, and saffron (the source of its yellow color), among other things — and is about 80 proof! These creamy custards are a perfect foil for the […]

Crabmeat Ravioli

Serving: 4 Print Crabmeat Ravioli By Great Chefs November 16, 2015 This crabmeat ravioli is one of Chef Goffredo Fraccaro’s signature dishes. Plump ravioli filled with crabmeat are served with creamy sauce and Parmesan cheese — which of course melts into the sauce. Chef Fraccaro does not use an egg in his pasta, but unless […]

Fried Calamari

Serving: 4 Print Fried Calamari By Great Chefs November 16, 2015 These crisp, golden brown calamari are classic. Lightly seasoned with lemon, salt, and pepper, they are ready to come to the table with only the simplest accompaniment, lemon slices. No special batters here — just flour and fresh-from-the-sea calamari. Ingredients Calamari (Squid) – 1 […]

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