Riccardo Momesso's Profile

Chef Riccardo Momesso
For Riccardo Momesso, Heaf Chef at Melbourne's One-hat Italian bistro Sarti, a curios and determined interest in food all began as a child, growing up alongside his father. A brave Italian ‘hunter and gatherer', Riccardo's father would often take him on various hunting adventures, talking to him along the way about everything he knew on different types of local, fresh produce, be it growing, running or swimming. Growing up with his family on a farm in Broad Meadows Victoria, Riccardo began to cook from a very young age. Regular weekend road trips with his dad lead them through Melbourne's beautiful rural landscape, outer country Victoria and even to New South Wales to find any wild produce they could, to bring back home and cook. They would return home with the day's catch. Anything from herbs, vegetables, rabbits and ducks, to wild pigs, wild goats, or even fresh fish – There was nothing that escaped their quick eye and steady hand. Riccardo's immediate environment was rich in authentic Italian culture, inherent with a love for food. From a very young age, Ric learnt about all things wild and wonderful that could be taken from the local landscape and into the family kitchen. Riccardo began his career as an apprenticeship in Melbourne's iconic Café Cucina on Chapel Street. His very first memories of the industry were formed here within the fast-paced Italian setting. From there he was approached by renowned chef Simon Humble to work alongside him as his apprentice, at the then sister-restaurant Il Bácaro, in Melbourne's CBD. From his time at Il Bácaro, Riccardo took his love and knowledge of fine Italian food towards a new challenge, joining one of the best restaurants in town at the time, French fine-dining room Est Est Est in South Melbourne. A change in cuisine meant unexplored territory for Riccardo and he faced a whole new world of possibilities ahead. Under the watchful eye of French chef Donovan Cooke, He took to it like a duck to water and developed true passion and talent for French cuisine. After completing his apprenticeship at Est Est Est, Riccardo was inspired to travel and to see the authenticity and heritage of the cuisines he'd learnt about in Melbourne. His first stop; Le Marche, Italy. Here, reverting back to his Italian ways, Riccardo spent two years as a chef, one year in each of the region's two best restaurants; Maddonina del Pescatore and Symposium Quarto Stagione. From his two years in Italy, Riccardo then moved on to the south of France to South Leon. Here, Riccardo spent another two consecutive years as a chef, first at Le Pyramide and then at Michele Trois Gras. After four invaluable years abroad, Riccardo knew his calling. His international expertise had shown him many new things about ingredients, technology and techniques in Italian, French and Mediterranean cuisine, but the time away drew him right back to Melbourne, where it all began. Now with a string of new talents under his belt, he returned to Il Bácaro in 2002 and took on the role of head chef. Proudly achieving a One-hat award in the coveted Age Good Food Guide awards, Riccardo began to carve his mark on a number of Melbourne restaurants. Today, Riccardo spends his time perfecting and developing his art as the head chef and partner to Melbourne's One-hat Italian bistro Sarti. Inspired by fresh flavours and a world of cuisine from French and Italian to Japanese and Thai, Riccardo's specialty resides in game food. His latest love can be found in Sarti's characteristic stuzzichini (Italian small plates). These dishes, small in size yet vast in variety, best demonstrate the rustic and surprisingly delicate style of Riccardo's modern Italian cooking. Still hunting in his spare time, Riccardo is a man passionate about his career, the industry and in discovering new directions for food and has plenty of desire for more to come.