Peter DeRuvo graduated in 1991 from Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, where he earned an AOS in Culinary Arts. He returned to Providence in 2004 to complete his BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management. In the years between, DeRuvo traveled and worked throughout the U.S., including stints in Santa Fe, New Mexico, California, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. In 1993, when he entered the door of Providence’s celebrated Italian restaurant, Al Forno, (sporting overalls and a shaved head) little did he know he would be learning skills and a philosophy about cooking that would sustain him throughout his career.
Husband-and-wife team George Germon and Johanne Killeen (he’s a sculptor; she’s a photographer), who’ve won much national acclaim as well as a handful of James Beard awards, taught DeRuvo “the art of tasting,” bringing him up through the ranks in a tight-knit culinary community that valued freshness and simplicity. Later, DeRuvo worked under Chez Panisse alum Paul Bertolli, Mike Tusk (who now owns Quince in San Francisco) and Paul Canales at Oliveto in Oakland, California, where he refined his technique and learned that a successful restaurant is “not just about the chef but about the hard-working people surrounding him.”
While he was working in the Bay Area, he was introduced to award-winning olive oil producer Albert Katz, who sent him to Tuscany to learn everything he could about olives and olive oil. He spent a year living on the farm and tending the olive groves at Montecastelli, a well-known producer of Italian wines, olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Owners Jens and Ruth Schmidt took DeRuvo under their wing, guiding him through planting, harvesting and pressing. At the same time, DeRuvo was working down the road at Casalta Ristorante, a two-star restaurant owned by Lazzaro Cimodoro. Although Cimodoro was born in Calabria (southern Italy), he was trained in the North. DeRuvo soaked up all he could about both regions.
After his stay in Tuscany, DeRuvo traveled to the French Riviera, where he spent time in Nice, Monaco and Antibes, learning about French picholines (a type of olive) and foraging for morels. DeRuvo, who has also worked at Capital Grille, Gregory’s World Bistro, Rancho Pinot and the Marquesa here in the Valley, plans to bring all of his experience to. Previously coming from Sassi restaurant (which is now a four diamond award) never had this distinguished prior to his arrival; Peter, fresh from the James Beard looks forward to the challenge of creating new tasty plates from all over Italy and Spain. After Sassi, then Peter Elevated Prado restaurant to new heights with his unique take on Italian Tapas, extending the “offal aspects” and “whole Beast Menu”. Earning best awards for “Best Upscale Italian” and “Best Charcuterie.”
“I spend at least one week a year at the estate where I learned the art of eating in Europe, which is also one of my passions – Eating!” says DeRuvo
DeRuvo partnered with Scott Harris and the Francesca’s Restaurant Group two years ago during the company’s expansion to the West Coast. He currently resides in Chicago, and brings his unique approach to Italian dining as Francesca’s Corporate Executive Chef.
With three kids Dominic, Ava, and Reese and a devoted wife Christine he enjoys spending time with his whole family. Whether it’s traveling, golfing, reading, eating or just spending some quiet time, he enjoys it all!
Francesca’s Forno at Baconfest Chicago 2012:
applewood smoked bacon and rapini stromboli