Bio | Interview | Featured Recipes
For eleven years, Rick Tramonto was executive chef and founding partner at Chicago's world-renowned four-star restaurant Tru, a Relais Chateaux property, in partnership with Rich Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. Tramonto is president and culinary director of Tramonto Cuisine, Inc., which developed Tramonto's Steak & Seafood and Osteria di Tramonto.
In 2010, Tramonto announced his partnership with Louisiana native Chef John Folse and the formation of a new additional restaurant company, Home on the Range. Tramonto and Folse opened their first joint restaurant project, Restaurant R’evolution, in New Orleans’ renowned French Quarter in the Royal Sonesta Hotel in 2012. Their second project together is Seafood R’evolution, in Ridgeland Mississippi, which opened in 2014.
Tramonto is an accomplished author with eight titles to his credit: His memoir, Scars of a Chef, was published in 2011. His cookbooks include: Steak with Friends; Osteria; Fantastico!; Tru; Amuse-Bouche; Butter Sugar Flour Eggs; American Brasserie (finalist for the Julia Child Cookbook Awards).
Because of the respect he has earned in the culinary world, Tramonto has won numerous awards including: James Beard Award - Best Chef Midwest; James Beard Award- Best Service (Tru); Wine Spectator Grand Award (Tru); Best New Chef in Food & Wine magazine (Trio); Four Star reviews in Chicago Tribune; Four Star reviews in Chicago magazine; Best new restaurant in New Orleans magazine (Restaurant R'evolution).
Tramonto has a long history of television work as well, appearing on Oprah, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Simply Ming and Iron Chef America. He was a guest judge on Top Chef, and he was a contestant on Season 2 of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.
Q: How did you get started with your career? Please describe your journey of how you got to where you are today.
A: After years of apprenticing for some of the world's greatest chefs, I moved back to Chicago to partner in the launch of a successful fine-dining restaurant.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: The seasons and the ingredients and how it changes all of the time.
Q: Describe your cooking style.
A: Contemporary American with a sense of humor.
Q: What is your favorite Chefwear item and why?
A: Black baggy Chefwear pants. Comfort, comfort, comfort.
Q: If you could choose any chef (dead or alive) to spend the day with, who would it be? Why?
A: Pierre Gagnaire. He's a Genius.
Q: What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
A: Japanese mandolin.
Q: What is the funniest kitchen incident you’ve encountered?
A: The time that we did a dinner with Mario Batali and our whole staff dressed like him, including the orange clogs.
Q: What do you do to stay educated about new trends in the restaurant industry?
A: Travel, eat, magazines, and the internet.
Q: What is your favorite meal?
A: Linguine and white clam.
Q: Please list awards and accolades.
A: Outstanding Service Award from The James Beard Foundation in 2007; Nation's Restaurant News Annual Fine Dining Hall of Fame Award 2004; Wine Spectator Magazine's Grand Award for Outstanding Restaurant Wine Lists 2004 are amongst a few.
Q: Which accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
A: James Beard Awards
Q: What was the best advice you ever received in your career?
A: Wear comfortable shoes.
Q: What advice would you give to a home enthusiast?
A: Trust yourself!
Belgian Ale Braised Mussels