Seemingly wielding a super-powered spatula, chef Michael Cirafesi has the magic ability to transport you to Italy. Maybe it’s his award-winning restaurant Ombra, which feeds not just our bellies but also our souls with Italian-inspired cuisine. Maybe it’s his Italian mannerisms and inflection-rich pronunciation of menu items like “insalata di pesche e Gorgonzola.” Or, more likely, maybe it’s his bone-marrow deep appreciation for cooking his ancestors’ classic dishes with innovative twists.
“I love food. Aside from my wife and children, I love food more than anything,” Cirafesi said. “From the dirt to the table, I love the shapes, the colors, the seasons, the varieties of food. My house is adorned with fruit and vegetable art. I couldn’t do anything else but this job.”