Fabio Trabocchi to open Fiola in spring 2011

As long expected (and hoped) by Washington food enthusiasts, Fabio Trabocchi last week announced he was leaving New York for Washington, where he plans to open Fiola in the former Le Paradou space in Penn Quarter. The acclaimed chef describes his new venture as "a more casual approach to what I was doing before at Maestro," the late ode to high-end Italian cuisine he presided over for six years at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner.

The menu at Fiola will change daily and will highlight the flavors of the Marches. Trabocchi is calling his ideas "gourmet but accessible." They are also a continuation of "the democratization of gastronomy" that he sees in the restaurant market.

A tall, soft-spoken native of Le Marche, a province of sea and mountains on the Adriatic side of central Italy, Mr. Trabocchi grew up on a farm and began cooking as a child. He eventually worked his way up to some top kitchens in Italy, including that of the Michelin-starred Gualtiero Marchesi. For much of his career he has worked in hotel restaurants abroad. While in London he attracted the attention of the Ritz-Carlton chain. He created Maestro in their Tysons Corner property to replace the more generic Dining Room.

“I’ve worked all over, but Le Marche is still my main influence,” he said. He roasts lamb in fresh hay as it is done there to give it an herbal smokiness. His menu includes lasagna Vincisgrassi, named, in a loose Italian transliteration, for an Austrian field marshal, Alfred Windischgrätz. It’s a local production number in which all the ingredients, including veal, are finely diced, not ground. In Le Marche, the dish calls for at least 12 layers of fresh pasta, but Mr. Trabocchi has simplified it a bit for Fiamma (and even more for home cooks, in the accompanying recipe).

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