When Francesco Di Caudo became executive chef of the kitchen here at Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar in 2015, we had the highest hopes for the ideas, skills, and 20 years of cooking experience he could bring to our long-standing Las Vegas Italian eatery. Needless to say, we are thrilled to see him honored as the Chef of the Year in the annual Restaurant Awards by Desert Companion, the magazine of Nevada Public Radio (KNPR).

It is a well-deserved distinction for Chef Di Caudo, who has has overseen the staff and operations at Ferraro’s for two years, along with bringing his own touch to our award-winning menu of Italian cuisine. “Making an established kitchen sing a new tune while still playing the golden oldies is a remarkable feat for any chef,” wrote KNPR’s John Curtas. “Ferraro’s is better than ever in 2017, and that’s quite an accomplishment for the restaurant – and for Francesco Di Caudo.”

In particular, KNPR recognized how Chef Di Caudo has been able to honor tradition while injecting a new flair to Italian fine dining. “Di Caudo has managed to incorporate such push-the-envelope dishes as risotto roccaverano (Arborio rice with Rabiola cheese, lamb ragu and pistachio-coffee dust) with such classics as the house-made salsiccia Calabrese (spicy sausage), pleasing everyone — and gaining a lot of foodie cred in the process,” Curtas said. “The trippa satriano (tripe in spicy tomato sauce) is about as old-school as you can get, but when paired with Di Caudo’s sea urchin pasta in a ginger-carrot sauce, or new-age beef tartare (with garlic chips and cured, grated egg yolk), you have the best of old and new Italy in one meal.”

The executive chef’s love for food and experience in the kitchen has early and humble beginnings. Di Caudo, a Sicilian native, worked as a dishwasher at the age of 14. By the time he was 19, he was attending Istituto Albergiero to officially study cooking, including traveling to Rome, Italy and Paris, France to study in their prestigious kitchens. In 2003, Di Caudo came to Las Vegas and made his first culinary stop at The Venetian. What followed was a series of accomplished positions: assistant executive chef at Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort Las Vegas; master cook at Osteria at Bellagio Hotel and Casino; chef de partie, pasta at Sinatra at Wynn Las Vegas; and back to The Venetian as assistant executive chef at Canaletto. Di Caudo then took a few years away from Las Vegas, serving as assistant executive chef at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.

Di Caudo met with Gino and Mimmo Ferraro in 2015, and the rest has been a short but successful history. Chef Di Caudo’s standard for excellence shines in his food and the culture at Ferraro’s, and we invite you to join us in sharing this experience. We look forward to seeing you in 2018!