A culinary virtuoso born in northern Italy, Francesco Tola spent his formative years basking in the sun-soaked flavors of his father’s Sicily.
But it was his northern Italian matriarchs who kickstarted his culinary journey.
“I always cooked with my mom and grandma,” he says with a nostalgic sigh, fondly recalling his grandmother’s olives in tomato sauce. “I was in heaven.”
That familial training ground gave way to the elite Alma culinary school in Parma, where he refined his skills under the watchful eye of Gualtiero Marchesi, the legendary chef who basically created “new Italian cuisine” as we know it and elevated Italian to the haute level on the world stage. (The guy’s a legend; look him up.)
After school, Francesco ventured to acclaimed restaurants across northern Italy and the United States, including the Michelin two-star Antica Corona Realle, Pujol in Mexico City, and one-star Spiaggia in Chicago.
Arriving in Detroit with plans to open an Italian restaurant in Midtown, Francesco’s dreams were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But with the resilience of a true artist, he gracefully pivoted to private cheffing and intimate dinners, transforming adversity into a new culinary canvas.
As he dreams of his own restaurant one day, Francesco shares his captivating vision: “My food is Italian modern food, and I like to put this touch of ingredients from all over the world.”
Francesco’s artistic culinary approach centers on “few ingredients and not too many competing flavors,” allowing the essence of his dishes to truly shine.
Follow Chef Francesco Tola on Instagram @chef.francesco.tola and on cheffrancesco.com.