In 2012, Miami chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, then only 26, not only became the first Miami winner of Food Network’s Chopped but he also made the Forbes “30 Under 30” list. That same year he launched his restaurant Eating House, cooking up riffs on Asian, Latin, Italian, and southern dishes. What began as a pop-up spot has turned into a Coral Gables fixture. On any given night you might find pork belly with calabaza, banana “mole,” and smoked jalapeño on the menu, or sea scallops with maple miso. On the sound system will most likely be a hip playlist, mixed by the chef himself.
Rapicavoli has even dabbled in small Spanish plates—his tapas restaurant, Taperia Raca (which was sold in 2015) served updates on the classics. This is a chef that does things his way, and it’s got him nominated for a James Beard Rising Star Chef Award and granted him a Slow Food “Snail of Approval” for his sourcing from local farms and his care in cooking. He’s also done guest stints at Slow Food’s Terra Madre events in Italy.
Rapicavoli’s half Italian, after all. His mother, who taught him how to make a great Sunday sauce, is Italian, and his father is Argentine. Growing up in Miami, the young cook studied at Johnson & Wales but left to kick-start his career at Nuevo Latino restaurant Chispa, working his way up the line to executive chef de cuisine at just 21 years old. Being scouted for Chopped during his three-year stint at 660 at boutique hotel The Angler’s in South Beach was the boost that gave the young chef the confidence he needed to craft a place of his own.
There, Rapicavoli can usually be found running the show in a pair of sneakers from his massive collection, and what he calls a “dope” leather-strapped denim apron from Canadian company Medium Rare. And on his arm, a tattoo in Italian that translates into English as “Good, Clean, and Fair.” It’s the Slow Food motto.