Maestro Chef Fabio Trabocchi Leaving Tysons for New York

By Walter Nicholls
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

After critically acclaimed chef Fabio Trabocchi announced Friday that he is leaving Maestro restaurant in Tysons Corner, corporate officers at the Ritz-Carlton say they have made no decisions about his replacement or about whether a new concept will be brought in.

"Fabio was an original, and we hate to lose him," said spokeswoman Vivian Deuschl. "It's a terrific disappointment, but he's leaving on the best of terms."

Until they decide on any new direction for the hotel's restaurant, Deuschl said, Maestro's assistant chefs will run the kitchen, and the menu will remain unchanged.

Asked why Trabocchi is leaving unexpectedly, Deuschl said, "A lot of chefs want to stretch their wings."

Trabocchi, whose last day at Maestro will be Aug. 18, is headed for New York to become chef-partner of a hot, well-established eatery. In early September the 33-year-old chef will relaunch Fiamma Osteria in the SoHo neighborhood, and the new menu will reflect the chef's love of foods from the Marche region of Italy. That cuisine has been his focus at Maestro as well as the subject of his 2006 cookbook, "Cucina of Le Marche: A Chef's Treasury of Recipes from Italy's Last Culinary Frontier."

"I had a lot of sleepless nights, and it was a hard decision," says Trabocchi, who opened the Tysons restaurant in 2001. "Maestro is my baby."

That doesn't mean we've heard the last of Trabocchi, who says he loves Washington. He says there is a strong possibility that he will return in two years to open a "green" hotel in the West End in a partnership with B.R. Guest Restaurants and Starwood Capital Group, Fiamma Osteria's owners.

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