Chef Giovanni Rocchio, head chef and owner of Valentino Cucina Italiana, developed a passion for culinary arts and food service at a very young age. Rocchio grew up in the restaurant business, starting out as a dishwasher, then making his way up the culinary ladder at his father's restaurant, also called Valentino, in Plantation. After studying business at Broward Community College, he moved to New York City and worked in restaurants Fiamma and Picholine, while spending his off days working for free in Mario Batali's Lupa Osteria Romano, Del Posto and Babbo restaurants. When his father retired, the younger Rocchio moved back to Florida and opened up Valentino in Fort Lauderdale. Rocchio takes great pride in challenging himself and increasing his knowledge to reach higher levels of cooking. He often travels to Italy to expand his palate of authentic Italian cuisine exploring regional farms and vineyards while mastering new recipes to share with South Florida. In addition to only the most delicious food items, Rocchio believes in providing guests with exceptional service and respectful hospitality.
Learn More About Giovanni Rocchio
What is your earliest memory involving food or wine?
My earliest memory involving food and wine was working at my dad's restaurant. I started washing dishes and loved being around the kitchen. My other earliest memory involving food and wine was drinking my dad's homemade wine in New York when I was seven years old. I remember not liking it, but that helped start my passion and love for food and wine.
If you've participated in the Festival before, what is your favorite SOBEWFF memory to date?
My favorite memory of SOBEWFF to date is seeing how many people are actually interested in good food and good wine. It's exciting to see how many people care.
If you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Definitely Alain Ducasse.
I never leave home without my:
I never leave home without my recipe book. It has notes from the past 20 years - different recipes and notes.