|“Tramonto has been featured in publications including USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and People magazine as well as Bon Appétit, Wine Spectator, and Conde Nast Traveler.”
CHEF RICK TRAMONTO
For eleven years, Restaurant R’evolution Executive Chef Rick Tramonto was executive chef and founding partner at Chicago’s world-renowned four-star fine-dining restaurant Tru, in partnership with restaurateur 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 & Lounge.
A Rochester, NY, native, Tramonto grew up in a traditional blue-collar Italian family. In 1977, due to a family crisis and his struggles in school, Tramonto dropped out of high school and entered the workforce to help support his family. His first full-time job was with Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers. After two years he left to become grill/sauté cook at the Scotch ‘N Sirloin, followed by a stint at the Strathallen Hotel, where he had his first experience with classical French technique, under the tutelage of Chef Greg Broman.
Young and ambitious, Tramonto moved to New York in the early 1980s, working at the legendary Tavern on the Green. From there, he joined Chef Alfred Portale as a 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 Richard Melman to work at his popular restaurants Avanzare and Scoozi!, as well as several other Lettuce Entertain You establishments. After a stint at Charlie Trotter's, Tramonto received a call from London-based restaurateur Bob Payton, whose company operated American-concept restaurants throughout the U.K. and Europe. Payton asked Tramonto to transform the cuisine at his award-winning country-house hotel Stapleford Park in Leicestershire. Tramonto accepted the opportunity to live and work in England, France, and Spain, and Stapleford Park was awarded the Michelin Guide's coveted Red "M.” Tramonto then worked with Payton to reopen the famous Criterion Brasserie in Picadilly Circus, London, and apprenticed with some of the world's greatest chefs, including Pierre Gagnaire, Anton Mosimann, Michel Guerard, Raymond Blanc and Alain Chapel.
Returning to Chicago in the early 1990s, Tramonto, along with culinary partner Gale Gand and Henry Adaniya, opened the nationally acclaimed fine dining restaurant Trio in Evanston, Illinois. The restaurant was an immediate triumph, earning Tramonto four-star ratings from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago magazine, as well as Food & Wine’s Best New Chef. Tramonto and Gand went on to launch Brasserie T, publish their first cookbooks and appear on Food Network. The two reunited with Rich Melman and Lettuce Entertain You in 2000 to open the award-winning Chicago landmark restaurant Tru, again attaining a trio of four-star reviews, as well as a Michelin Guide Red “M” and a four-star Mobil rating. Tramonto received the James Beard Best Chef Midwest award in 2002. In 2005, he opened Osteria di Tramonto, Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood and RT Sushi Bar & Lounge in the Westin Hotel in Wheeling, Illinois.
In 2010, Tramonto announced his business partnership with Louisiana native Chef John Folse and the formation of the new restaurant development company Home on the Range: Folse Tramonto Restaurant Development, LLC. The partners will launch their first joint restaurant, Restaurant R’evolution, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans in the city’s renowned French Quarter in spring of 2012. Restaurant R’evolution will offer modern, imaginative reinterpretations of classic Cajun and Creole cuisine.
Tramonto is an accomplished author with eight titles to his credit. His cookbooks include: American Brasserie (finalist for the Julia Child Cookbook Award); Butter Sugar Flour Eggs (nominated for the 2000 James Beard Award for Best Cookbook in the Baking and Desserts category); Amuse-Bouche; Tru; Fantastico!; Osteria; and Steak with Friends: At Home with Rick Tramonto. His memoir, Scars of a Chef, was published in March 2011.
Tramonto has been featured in publications including USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and People magazine as well as Bon Appétit, Wine Spectator, and Conde Nast Traveler. He has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Today,” “CBS This Morning,” “Simply Ming,” and “Iron Chef America.” He was a judge on Bravo’s hit reality show “Top Chef” and a contestant on Season 2 of “Top Chef Masters.”
Tramonto is a regular at food and wine events nationwide, including Pebble Beach Food & Wine, the Food Network South Beach Wine &Food Festival, and the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. He is active in his church and supports a number of charities, including Feed the Children and Angel Tree. Tramonto splits his time between Louisiana and Chicago, where his wife and three sons reside.
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES
Chef Rick Tramonto
- Chef John Folse Culinary Institute Distinguished Visiting Chef Award, 2004
- Nation’s Restaurant News Annual Fine Dining Hall of Fame Award, 2004
- Restaurants & Institutions magazine IVY Award, 2003
- Relais & Chateaux Relais‐Gourmand
- James Beard Awards Win for Amex Best Chef, Midwest Category, 2002
- James Beard Awards Nomination for Amex Best Chef, Midwest Category, 2001
- James Beard Awards Nomination for Best Chefs in the Midwest, 1997
- Robert Mondavi Award for Culinary Excellence; Rising Star Chefs Award, 1994
- Food & Wine Magazine Top 10 Best New Chefs, 1994
- Michelin Red ʺM,ʺ 1991
- Outstanding Service Award from The James Beard Foundation, 2007
- Four‐star Mobil
- Five‐diamond AAA
- DiRōNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) Award, 2004
- Outstanding Service Award nomination from The James Beard Foundation, 2004
- Wine Spectator magazine’s Grand Award for Outstanding Restaurant Wine Lists, 2004
- Wine Spectator magazine’s ‘Best Of’ Award 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
- Relais & Chateaux Relais‐Gourmand
- American Academy of Hospitality Sciences Award, 2002
- Best New Restaurant nomination from The James Beard Foundation, 2000
- Four‐star reviews from Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun‐Times and Chicago magazine
- Named the most popular Chicago restaurant by Zagat Survey