CHEF FRANCO VITELLA'S CULINARY JOURNEY
It began in Italy
When did your culinary career begin?
My parents owned a restaurant called Girasole in Milan, Italy. I was eight years old and I remember pouring wine to customers with a towel over my arm. I also learned from watching my mother cook in her kitchen.
Did you learn to cook that young?
The menu in the restaurant was only one page. We only made food that reflected the season, and what was available and fresh. I had to everything from sweep the floors to fold pizza boxes. My father made sure that learned everything there was to do in a restaurant. I loved everything about it. I still do.
Why did you decide to become a caterer?
I attended the School of Visual Arts because I was an artist. So in chef's terms, I guess I infused art with food. Creating a vision around food is my passion in life. The two go hand and hand together.
What is your specialty?
That is a very hard question. My heritage is Italian food. But my love to create new things, and be ahead of the curve is my passion. So invention is my specialty.
Is it a family business?
Yes, my wife, mother, and aunt all work with me. And my kids are starting to work as servers and dishwashers. My father passed away a few years ago and I still feel like he is with me every day I go to work.
Is a family business a benefit for your company on wedding days?
Yes. When we cater to weddings, Ally and I understand the bride and grooms are just starting off in their life, and they are bringing two families together. We believe we can empathize with them and work together alongside them from the very beginning of their engagement, until their wedding day. We want to get it right. We know that their special day is our special day too. You can sometimes, well every time see Ally crying when they are getting married.
Does your artistic side and Ally's background allow you to do big corporate events?
Oh absolutely. One of our biggest attributes is that we can create ideas that work logistically, creatively and memorably. We have been honored to have had created some of New York's biggest events...and look forward to anything that comes our way. Its so much fun. Its really what we do best.