Fabio Trabocchi, Chef/Owner
Fabio Trabocchi’s passion for cooking grew organically beside his father and grandparents growing up in Italy’s Le Marche region. By age 16, he was working in the kitchen of a three-star Michelin restaurant, Gualtiero Marchesi, and at 18, he was at the Michelin one-star Ja Navalge Moena in Trento. Fabio was born by the sea, along the rugged Marche coast near port city of Ancona. His natural culinary affinity to seafood was the inspiration for his latest restaurant, Fiola Mare, which opened in February 2014.
Fabio’s professional culinary career has taken him to London, where he received the Carlton Award for Best Young Chef, and to Washington DC, where his restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, Maestro, earned him accolades ranging from Food & Wine’s Best New Chef and the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef – Mid Atlantic. Fabio celebrated his personal culinary heritage in a cookbook, Cucina of Le Marche (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2006), co-authored with Peter Kaminsky. His work in New York City at BR Guest Hospitality’s Fiamma was awarded a Michelin star and three stars in the New York Times.
Fabio returned to Washington DC to open his first owned restaurant, Fiola, in 2011, and was honored by Esquire Magazine as one of the “Best New Restaurants” of the year. In 2012, Fiola was nominated nationally for a James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant of the Year” and Bon Appetit named Fiola one of the 50 Best New Restaurants in the U.S. Closer to home Fiola won “Best New Restaurant of the Year” from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. That same year, Fiola was awarded a three star review in The Washington Post and was named by Zagat as one of the hottest Italian restaurants in the U.S. Fiola also received Wine Spectator’s 2013 Best Award of Excellence for 2013, and was named in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wine Restaurants. Trabocchi was awarded the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2013 Chef of the Year Award.
In July 2013, Fabio opened Casa Luca, a vino e cucina inspired by the culinary heritage of his father and his home region of Le Marche. Both Casa Luca and Fiola are listed in the top 25 of Washingtonian magazine’s Top 100 Best Restaurants for 2014. Casa Luca was named to GQ’s 25 Best New Restaurants in America in March 2014.
Maria Trabocchi, Guest Relations Director
Maria Trabocchi has established herself as one of the city’s leading restaurateurs, overseeing the guest experience at all three restaurants. In this role she regularly juggles the demands of celebrity, political, social and business power players in the city, from reservation management to all the intricacies of the dining experience at a four-star level. The daughter of a Spanish diplomat, Maria grew up in Madrid and Mallorca with her 5 brothers. She and Fabio met while she was attending university in Washington, DC.
Mikey Maksimowicz, Executive Chef
Mikey grew up on the banks of the lower Potomac River and could be found in his backyard, fishing pole in hand. He even commercially crabbed during his high school summers. Mikey graduated from the French Culinary Institute in 2005, but he soon traded the bright lights of NYC for the beaches of South Florida, where he worked in several restaurants and ultimately served as the sous chef for Michelle Bernstein in 2008-2009. After his stint in Florida, he headed north to explore the culinary scene in Washington, DC, with the added perk of being closer to his family. Locally, he has been the sous chef at Vidalia (2009-2010), Rogue 24 (2012), and Blue Duck Tavern (2012-2013). Currently, he spends his free time with his rescue dog Daisy, trying to get back to the water whenever he gets a chance. While he is passionate about preparing complex seafood dishes, he is also known to enjoy steamed crabs with lots of Old Bay and a cold beer.
Tom Wellings, Corporate Executive Pastry Chef
Tom Wellings brings an eye for creative seasonality and a strong background in Italian-influenced desserts to his position as Pastry Chef at Fiola. This marks the third time Chef Fabio Trabocchi and Chef Wellings are working together.
In 2007, Wellings served as Pastry Chef at Trabocchi’s fine dining destination, Maestro. During his time at Maestro, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington nominated him for the Pastry Chef of the Year award. In 2008, Wellings followed Trabocchi to Fiamma, where he offered New York diners a taste of his Italian-influenced modern interpretations.
Wellings began his culinary career specializing in savory offerings while attending the New England Culinary Institute. During his first garde manger position at Hugo’s in Portland, Maine, Wellings got a taste of dessert preparations, and was inspired to enroll at the French Culinary Institute to pursue his new interest.
Upon his graduation in 2004, Wellings had the good fortune to cut his teeth at some of the most notable, progressive restaurants in the country, including WD-50 in New York, Clio in Boston and Trio in Chicago before joining the pastry department at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. During his impressive career, Wellings also served as pastry chef at Restaurant Eve for one year. Prior to coming to Fiola, Wellings served as Pastry Chef at Equinox, impressing guests with his seasonally inspired desserts.
At Fiola, Wellings utilizes Italian ingredients to create modern takes on traditional pastry preparations, such as the Budino Piemontese, made with chocolate hazelnut cream, caramel sauce and Alba hazelnut oil gelato, and a vanilla pannacotta, served with raspberry sorbetto and raspberry merengue. Wellings also reimagines existing favorites such as the decadent bomboloni by serving them with stracciatella affogato.
Farhat Haq, General Manager
Born in Queens, New York and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Farhat was exposed to the world of food and hospitality at a young age. The culture of a restaurant from the menu, to the atmosphere, to the guest experience has always fascinated Farhat. Wowing his guests from the minute they walk through the door is something he feels passionately about. He started his restaurant career 8 years ago and has worked on all levels of operations. Developing and motivating his team to give the best possible guest experience is his expertise. Part of living in Washington DC is enjoying the incredible food and wine and the reason why he is so thrilled to be a member of the Fiola team.
Casper Rice, Beverage Director & Sommelier
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 at Fiola Restaurant with Chef Fabio Trabocchi. As Beverage Director Casper is excited to focus on anything being drunk from a glass!
Siobhan McIntyre, Private Events Manager