Master chef Rick Tramonto demonstrated the fine art of risotto making with casual ease and consummate skill at the cooking demo at Jamieson Ranch Vineyards that preceded lunch at the winery on day 3 of the 2016 Napa Truffle Festival. The demonstration was recorded for the online network Feast it Forward.
As he stirred and reduced the lobster stock he added to the carnaroli rice, Chef Rick filled the group in on his interesting personal history. A high school dropout who didn’t master reading until he was in his 20s, he began his career at a Wendy’s in his hometown of Rochester, New York, in order to help support his family after his father was sent to prison.
A series of influential mentors helped to guide his path and his development as a chef — help that he repays through his own mentoring and charitable work.
The exquisite lobster risotto was one of four courses, each more spectacular than the last, that he prepared for the Truffle Festival lunch with the help of the winery’s chef, Scott Ekstrom. Expertly paired with Jamieson Ranch Vineyard’s award-winning wines, the menu was proof that Chef Rick richly deserved the Michelin star he was awarded while at the helm of Chicago restaurant TRU. His current project, Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans is sure to soon earn him another.