region on Italy’s
among the world’s leading restaura-
teurs. His restaurant group includes
properties in Washington, D.C.;
Miami; and Venice, Italy, where he
recently opened Fiola at Dopolavoro
Venezia at JW Marriott Venice Resort
& Spa. JWM sat down with the chef
to discuss creativity, cuisine and carbs.
JWM: How did you get your start?
FT: I went to culinary school in my
region and then trained with chefs in
Marche and Emilia-Romagna. I left
Italy when I was 21, making stops at
restaurants in Moscow; Washington,
D.C.; Spain; and London. The most
important apprenticeship I had was
with Gualtiero Marchesi, who was the
first chef to earn three Michelin stars
in Italy. It was my first experience
with true fine dining.
JWM: When did you know you were
ready to open your first restaurant?
FT: Ever since I began my career,
I wanted to open a restaurant by
age 30. So, technically, I missed this
deadline, because we opened Fiola in
Washington, D.C., in 2011. I knew I
needed experience to be a good chef,
but to run a restaurant, I also needed
to learn many business skills.
JWM: What has been your biggest
achievement as a chef so far?
FT: Being a vehicle for others to
blossom in their career — within our
group and outside of it. It’s not about
ego or building an empire, it’s about
recognizing talent in the people I’m
lucky enough to work with.
JWM: What makes Fiola at
Dopolavoro Venezia unique?
FT: It’s located on a private island
(Isola delle Rose) and has a patio and a
garden, where some of the vegetables,
fruit and herbs are grown for the
restaurant, and it’s surrounded by
olive trees. It’s a canvas for creativity.
JWM: How do you maintain
FT: As a chef, you are always running
at 100 percent, so diet and lifestyle
are very important. Having a balance,
with a foundation of self-discipline,
routine and good habits, is very
important. I work out with a trainer
two to four times a week. I watch
my diet— though during a restaurant
opening I have a little less control. I
always eat a good breakfast because
I don’t stop during the day. I am
cautious with starches and sugar, but
I won’t eliminate them. Our bodies
need some carbohydrates. I also drink
plenty of water during the day and no
alcohol during the week.
JWM: Is there any type of cuisine
you’d still like to master?
FT: I think I’m doing OK with
Spanish, but my wife may disagree!
She is from Spain, so you can imagine
the discussions at home. We’ve been
together for more than 20 years, so
I have been exposed to Spanish food
as part of a family, which is the only
way one can reinterpret a particular
cuisine with authenticity.
JWM: What inspires you to keep
doing what you do every day?
FT: The need to create and find solutions. Restaurants are never boring! [
For this James Beard Award–winning chef, mentoring the next generation
of culinary stars within his hospitality group, Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants,
is as important as creating his beloved Italian- and Spanish-inspired dishes.
BY DIDI GLUCK
Chef Trabocchi and
his wife, restaurateur
Maria Trabocchi; a
dinner setting at Fiola
at Dopolavoro Venezia
at JW Marriott Venice
Resort & Spa; a white