Chef Franco Gallo grew up in a small town in Italy by the Adriatic Sea in Brindisi, where he got his first taste of the restaurant business doing every job imaginable alongside many Italian Chefs in his hometown. He also served in the Italian Army and was trained in culinary art to serve the high ranking officer staff. He met his wife in the Navy, stationed in Italy where they met and he followed here here. His most recent experience was being the Head Chef at the Dayton Bicycle Club for 15 years. Last summer the stars aligned with the opportunity to open Franco the Foodie, where he is the now the owner and Chef, creating a unique rotating menu every week and catering for parties and events. His family is all involved in the business with his wife and one daughter works in the kitchen, while his other daughter works the front of the house.
What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Garlic is one of my favorite ingredients. It is simple, flavorful and fragrant, adding a lot too many dishes. After all, I am 100 percent Italian, born and raised in Italy. They put garlic in our pacifiers.
What ingredient do you dread?
I don’t dread any ingredient in particular, although I am not a fan of peeling beets, although I do love to eat them.
What’s your favorite dish to make?
My favorite dish to make is homemade pasta. To me there is nothing better than making homemade pasta. I find it therapeutic and the end result is pure delicious in a variety of sauces and options. It also takes me back to my childhood when I first was introduced to making pasta with my mother and grandmother in Italy.
What’s your favorite pig out food?
Fried calamari and shrimp, with squeeze of lemon on top and fresh parsley. I could eat that all day long. Growing up by the Adriatic Sea in Italy it was a common street food that always brings me back home.
What restaurant, other than your own, do you like to dine at in the Miami Valley?
Lily’s Bistro and Meadowlark are 2 of my favorite restaurants. I like how they utilize seasonal fresh ingredients, and the dishes are often creative and enjoyable.
What’s your best advice for home chefs?
Simplicity goes a long way. Don’t overdo it and think that adding too many ingredients makes things better. Less is often more when it comes to cooking. And YouTube can often be your best friend when learning how to use new ingredients or trying a new recipe.
If you could invite any 4 guests to a dinner party who would they be and why?
My mother, who lives in Italy and I don’t get to see her very often. My father, who passed away several years ago. My grandmother, who taught me a lot about cooking. And my wife, who tells me she is my biggest fan, so I better include her so she doesn’t divorce me.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
My brother Tony, who is a Chef in Italy. He has a reputation for making some amazing food and pizza dough in Brindisi, where we grew up. He recently came to visit and spent time working with me and showing me some tips and cooking techniques. One thing that I learned a long time ago is that a Chef never stops learning and I appreciated him sharing his knowledge with me.
What do you do in the Miami Valley on a day off?
I don’t have many days off, but when I get a chance to relax I like to watch a movie, or play online nerdy games, such as World of Warcraft.
Share a kitchen disaster, lucky break or other interesting story:
Approximately 6 months ago I had the opportunity to open Franco the Foodie. It has been a dream of mine for many years to have my own restaurant. You could call this my lucky break, as everything aligned at the right place at the right time. I have greatly enjoyed the challenge and look forward to growing the business, also recognizing it is not always easy. But it is extremely satisfying getting to know the local customers and welcoming them like family.
New Carlisle, OH,
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