Rick Tramonto's Bio:
Executive chef Rick Tramonto is vice president and culinary director/COO of Home on the Range, a restaurant development company based in New Orleans. He and his culinary partner, executive chef/CEO John Folse, plan to open the company's first project, Restaurant R'evolution, in 2011. The establishment, which will serve contemporary Creole cuisine, will be located in the Royal Sonesta in the French Quarter. Tramonto is also president and executive chef of Tramonto Cuisine.
For ten years, Tramonto was executive chef and founding partner at Chicago's world-renowned, award-winning, four-star restaurant Tru, in a partnership with Rich Melman, chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, and pastry chef Gale Gand. Tramonto is also culinary director of Tramonto's Steak & Seafood and RT Sushi Bar.
A Rochester, New York native, Tramonto grew up in a traditional blue-collar Italian family. In 1977, because of a family crisis and his struggles in school, Tramonto dropped out of high school and entered the workforce to help out his family. His first full-time job was with Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers. He left after two years to become broiler cook at the Scotch ‘N Sirloin steak house, which led to his first real culinary experience at the Strathallen Hotel. Under the tutelage of Chef Greg Broman, Tramonto learned the techniques of classic French cuisine.
Young and ambitious, Tramonto moved to New York in the early 1980s, where he worked at the legendary Tavern on the Green. From there he joined Chef Alfred Portale as line cook at Gotham Bar & Grill and was part of the brigade awarded three stars by the New York Times. He also worked under Chef Gerard Pangaud at Aurora. In the late 1980s Tramonto was brought to Chicago by Rich Melman to work at his popular restaurants Avanzare and Scoozi! He then went on to open and work at several other Lettuce Entertain You establishments.
After working at Charlie Trotter's, Tramonto received a call from Bob Payton, CEO and founder of My Kinda Town Ltd. in London, which operated multiple American-concept restaurants throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. Payton asked Tramonto to transform the kitchen and cuisine at his award-winning country-house hotel Stapleford Park in Leicestershire, outside London. Tramonto accepted the opportunity to live and work in England, France, and Spain. After the restaurant received positive reviews and numerous accolades, it was awarded the coveted Michelin Guide's Red "M." Tramonto then teamed up again with Bob Payton to do the reopening of the famous Criterion Brasserie in Picadilly Circus, London. After that, Tramonto went on to apprentice with some of the world's greatest chefs, including Pierre Gagnaire, Anton Mosimann, Michel Guerard, Raymond Blanc, and Alain Chapel.
When Tramonto returned to Chicago in the early 1990s, he was ready to partner in the launch of a successful fine-dining restaurant. He, his culinary partner Gale Gand, and Henry Adaniya opened the nationally acclaimed Trio. The restaurant was an immediate triumph, earning four-star ratings from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago magazine, as well as Food and Wine's Best New Chef in America. Tramonto and Gand went on to launch the popular casual restaurant Brasserie T, during which time they published their first cookbooks and began making appearances on the Food Network and national television.
The two reunited with restaurateur Rich Melman to launch the award-winning Chicago landmark Tru in 2000. With Tru, they regained four-star status with the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, and Chicago magazine; Tru also received four-star Mobil and five-star AAA ratings. The restaurant was recognized by the Relais & Chateaux Relais-Gourmand and received multiple other awards, including an Outstanding Service Award from The James Beard Foundation and a Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award. Tramonto received several awards as well, including the James Beard Best New Chef in the Midwest, Food & Wine Magazine Top 10 Best New Chefs, and the Robert Mondavi Award for Culinary Excellence. In 2005, he opened Osteria di Tramonto, Tramonto's Steak & Seafood, and RT Sushi Barin the Westin Hotel in Wheeling, Illinois.
Tramonto is an accomplished cookbook author with seven titles to his credit: American Brasserie (finalist for the Julia Child Cookbook Awards); Butter Sugar Flour Eggs (nominated for the 2000 James Beard Award for the Best Cookbook in the Baking and Desserts category); Amuse-Bouche; Tru; Fantastico!; Osteria, and his most recent book, Steak with Friends: At Home with Rick Tramonto.
Because of the respect he has earned in the culinary world, Tramonto has been featured in newspapers including USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and People magazine as well as international lifestyle publications such as Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator and Conde Nast Traveler. He has a history of television work as well, appearing on Oprah, Today, CBS This Morning, and Iron Chef America on Food Network. He appeared on Simply Ming and was a guest judge on season 4 of Bravo TV's hit reality program Top Chef. He also was a contestant on Top Chef Masters season 2.
Tramonto is a regular at many Food and Wine events, including the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival, the South Beach Food and Wine Festival, and the Aspen Food and Wine Classic. He is active in his church and supports a number of charities, including Feed the Children, Angel Tree, and Teen Challenge. Tramonto and his wife, Eileen, have three sons.
Visit Rick's website at www.tramontocuisine.com