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Stefano Frigerio, Executive Chef
Chef Stefano was born with an infatuation for all things culinary. Hailing from Inverigo, a small village in Northern Italy’s province of Como, young Stefano could always be found by his grandmother’s side, preparing family meals in their small kitchen or working in the large garden where the family grew all produce and herbs necessary for consumption. This early exposure to cooking with only the freshest of ingredients manifested itself into a refined respect for food and a culinary vision of uniquely creative dishes built upon a foundation of respect for individual ingredients.
At the age of 14, Stefano left home to attend the Centro di Formazione Professionale Alberghiero in Lecco, Italy. Upon graduation, Stefano held positions in several of Milan’s most distinguished kitchens, first at the luxury 4-Star Relais Le Fattorie di Stendhal; then as Chef de Partie at Ristorante San Maurizio, and finally as Chef de Partie Entremetier at the acclaimed Don Carlos Restaurant in the luxury 5-Star Grand Hotel et de Milan.
Desiring to see more of the world, Stefano joined acclaimed Chef Fabio Trabocchi in 1998 to open Grissini Restaurant in London’s 5-star Hyatt Carlton Tower. The two chefs then opened Floriana in London, before Stefano went on his own as Executive Chef of Ibla Ristorante in London.
In 2002 Stefano was lured to the United States by old friend Chef Fabio Trabocchi to help lead the kitchen at Maestro Restaurant in McLean, Virginia as Senior Sous Chef. During Frigerio’s tenure at Maestro the restaurant received numerous accolades including the AAA Five-Diamond award and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Best Fine Dining Restaurant award.
As Executive Chef at Mio Restaurant in Washington, D.C.’s Midtown neighborhood, Frigerio served up creative American dishes with Mediterranean influences. His menus reflected a respect for exceptional ingredients and creative presentations. Stefano’s enthusiastic training programs and desire to bring classic European culinary techniques of using whole animals and creating house-made products into his kitchen have allowed his passion for food to felt by all in his presence. In Frigerio’s words, “it’s all about respect.” Stefano founded Copper Pot as a brand to produce and sell his distinctive, homemade jams. Working at local farmer’s markets here in the District, he developed a loyal following of customers.
At Seasons Culinary Services, Stefano brought his talent and years of expertise to Arnold & Porter where he served as Executive Chef. During that time, he brought his distinctive style to the menus he creates for the Café as well as catered meals and events. He used his wide culinary range to serve to the many tastes that make up the population of the firm, with cuisine from around the world represented in his offerings. Stefano rejoined Fabio Trabocchi as Executive Chef of Fiola in January 2015.
Kendra Grieco, Pastry Chef
Chef Kendra's focus on seasonal and local ingredients began early. Growing up in Chadds Ford, a quaint town in southeastern Pennsylvania, exposed Kendra to a rich community of artisans and Amish farmers and merchants. Her love for food and art began to grow, and at 14, she took her first culinary job as a cake decorator. She pursued her culinary passion and graduated with honors from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. She traveled to Florida to work at Victoria and Albert’s, a AAA 5 diamond restaurant within the Walt Disney World Resort, to work and study under one of the few Master Pastry Chefs in the country, Erich Herbitschek. Eventually she returned north to advance her craft under an alumnus of Pastry Team USA in a small Maryland restaurant. Kendra has worked at various local bakeries as a cake decorator and at Bethesda’s Redwood restaurant. Finding a home in DC, she was thrilled to be tapped by Chef Fabio Trabocchi as part of the opening team at Fiola. When the hustle and bustle of the city becomes too much, she often makes time for trips back to Pennsylvania to enjoy the quiet, peaceful way of life.
John Gilbert, General Manager
A native of Hampton Roads Virginia, John’s love of restaurants began at a young age, touring his grandmother's chic French restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. From then on a passion for food and wine developed into his first job at the Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia. After high school he moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to attend Johnson and Wales University. During school and after graduation he worked for two restaurant groups and opened five restaurants. He also worked as a consultant on of independent restaurants. John was a member of the opening team of BLT for Laurent Tourondel in the new Ritz Carlton Hotel in Charlotte.
John moved to Washington DC in 2010 to work at Bourbon Steak in the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown. Working with the Michael Mina group, the restaurant gained numerous awards and national recognition including the award of "Best Fine Dining Washington DC.” John is grateful to be a part of a growing restaurant group.
Sharif Abdullaev, Restaurant Manager
Casper Rice, Corporate Wine Director
In 2004, Casper Rice moved from Chicago to San Francisco to further explore the food and wine industry. At Rubicon Restaurant, he received initial lessons from Master Sommelier Larry Stone. Upon Stone’s retirement from the restaurant, Rice decided to join the team at Restaurant Michael Mina in the Westin St. Francis. For three years he worked with the group under the guidance of Wine Director Rajat Parr. In 2008, after spending a growing season in the Loire Valley and a harvesting season in Burgundy with Nicolas Potel, Casper returned to San Francisco to open Rajat Parr’s Burgundy focused restaurant RN74. After nearly seven years exploring the world of wine, Casper drove the bar programs for Michelin-starred Alexander’s Steakhouse, with focus at the San Francisco location. Using a background in wine as a backdrop to understanding flavor balance, Casper created 'farm-to-table’ house-made bitters, tinctures, and syrups to produce classic and modern cocktails that would play yin to the yang of Chef Marc Zimmerman’s Japanese-influenced gastronomic creations. After two and a half years of bar programming, Casper was recruited to Virginia by The Inn at Little Washington. Co-authoring a Grand Award winning wine list was a great experience while also running the floor as a sommelier and organizing the cellar of around 18,000 bottles. After a year and a half in the Virginia countryside, Casper has found a new home in Washington, D.C.
Magda Gilpin, Sommelier
Magda moved to Washington, D.C. from Poland several years ago to pursue her diplomatic career and work on developing trade relations between her home country and the United States. After several business trips to California and spending time in Napa Valley, she fell in love with wine. She moved to California and attended intensive sommelier training where she studied wine and wine service from three great Master Sommeliers, passed the Court of Master Sommeliers exam, and then worked in the San Francisco wine sales industry. Now at Fiola, Magda loves to discuss wine with guests, help them choose perfect pairings to match the kitchen's amazing culinary creations, and work on Fiola’s inspiring wine list to continue making it the best it can be.
Jen Semo, Sommelier
Sarah Bengtson, Private Dining Manager
Sarah began her hospitality career with the Max Restaurant Group in Connecticut. While studying economics at Trinity College in Hartford, she held various front of the house positions and developed a passion for hospitality. After college she continued her career with the Max Restaurant Group and was promoted to the position of manager. In this position she had the opportunity to work in several restaurants, all with different concepts; including market fresh and sustainable seafood, casual Italian bistros and creative burgers.Sarah relocated to Washington, DC and joined the Fiola team first as a server, and then as a manager and sommelier at Casa Luca. She is delighted to take her hospitality career to the next level as our Fiola Private Events Manager.
Tania Courseille, Guest Relations Manager