Pastry Chef, Lincoln Ristorante
As Pastry Chef at Lincoln Ristorante, Richard Capizzi crafts refined renditions of Italy's classics: light, lush and beautifully constructed. Using the freshest seasonal ingredients, he makes elegant desserts such as tartufo alla nocciola with salted caramel and chocolate meringue, brioche con gelato with almonds and fresh berries, torta paradiso with chamomile poached apricots and almond milk gelato.
A gifted baker as well as confectioner, chocolatier and maker of gelato and sorbetto, Capizzi is at the helm of the bread service, comprised of focaccia, flatbreads, carta di musica and grissini in addition to bar snacks.
Capizzi derived his cooking philosophy and enhanced his skills from the time he spent in and out of the kitchen with some of the world's most renowned chefs, from Thomas Keller to Jean Louis Palladin and Pascal Brunstein. Growing up, baking pastries with his Sicilian and Neapolitan family led him to take a job at a local bakery. His ever-growing passion prompted him to attend The Culinary Institute Of America in Hyde Park, NY.
While studying, he conducted a stage at Le Cirque in New York City with Pastry Chef Jacques Torres and later became a Pastry Cook Extern and then Pastry Assistant at Chef Jean Louis Palladin's Napa Restaurant at The Rio Hotel, Las Vegas. After graduation Richard remained in Hyde Park for a continuing education program on Artisan Breads and Viennoiserie.
Capizzi later relocated to France and began an apprenticeship at The Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo. The following year, he worked at The Royaume du Chocolat in Lyon, honing his skills in chocolate work, gelatos and sorbets. Richard returned to the U.S. in 2001 and worked at The Russian Tea Room as a Pastry Assistant under Pastry Chef Andrew Shotts. A year later he moved to Mondrian Pastry as Sous Chef under Michelle William, and then The Chocolate Loft/Garrison Confections as Assistant Chocolatier.
He was the Pastry Sous Chef for the opening of Per Se, working closely with Pastry Chef Sebastien Rouxel, before being promoted to Pastry Chef for both Per Se and Bouchon Bakery two years later. He worked closely with the Head Baker on a specialty breads and pastries program and developed his working relationship with Chef Jonathan Benno.
Capizzi won the title of Pastry Chef of the Year, as well as gold medals for "Most Artistic Plated Dessert," The Vatel Club's "Technical Prize" and the Societe Culinaire Philanthropique's Award for Exceptional Taste at the 14th Annual US Pastry Competition in New York in 2003. He was the youngest and the first pastry chef ever to sweep the entire competition. While at Per Se Dessert Professional honored Richard as one of the top 10 best pastry chefs in 2009. Richard Capizzi lives in Merrick, NY, with his wife Phyllis and their two children.