Massimo Riggio is the Executive Chef of Briscola in the Grand Sierra Resort. Chef Massimo creates traditional Italian dishes using the skills he learned while growing up and working in Italy. He oversees Chef Charlie Palmer’s only Italian restaurant. Read more about him below:

Where are you from?
I was born in Milan and my whole family is from Sicily.

How long have you been working at Briscola?
I came to Briscola about ten months ago.

How old were you when you found your passion for cooking?
I was a young boy helping my mother and grandmother make pasta and home-style Italian cuisine. I started officially cooking when I was 14 years old. I now have 30 years of experience cooking both northern and southern style Italian food.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I like to play the drums. I used to want to be a musician.

If you had to eat one thing/dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Risotto. I love the taste of risotto and the fact that you can make different variations of it and have it reflect who you are. I never get tired of risotto because you can play with it many different ways. Fettuccini Carbonara is a totally authentic Italian dish that I love to make as well.

Do you have a role model you look up to?
I have had the pleasure of working with so many talented chefs in Italy that I don’t have just one!

What is your dream vacation?
A vacation in Brazil, Hawaii, and Australia.

What is your favorite dish to make?
Gnocchi and Cioppino. I like to make gnocchi because it is a comfort food for people, plus I enjoy creating different shapes with it. Cioppino is a light dish that most seafood lovers enjoy. I love to prepare it with puff pastry on top in order to keep the dish moist.

What is your favorite thing dish to make on the menu?
I have several things I like to make, like handmade meatballs, lobster ravioli, lasagne with fresh house made pasta, osso bucco & tiramisu. These are some of the signature dishes of the menu. Guests who come into the restaurant and order these dishes enjoy it. Most ask to speak to the Chef!

What is the first thing you learned from Chef Charlie Palmer?

He has so much passion for food which has inspired me to grow into the chef I am today.