how Brioso Ristorante’s head chef keeps Italian traditions alive

by Jessica Jones-Gorman • Photos By Robert Nuzzie

Born in Ortona Abruzzo, a small coastal town and municipality of Italy’s Province of Chieti, Francesco Angelucci learned about food and the influence of Italian culture at a young age.

“I came from a humble family,” Angelucci said. “My grandfather was a hardworking peasant who taught me how to live off the land. We made olive oil together and cooked huge meals for the family. I learned so much from him and continue to use those family recipes today.”

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Angelucci spent most of his youth in Francavilla, a resort town close to the sea, a location which he says inspired his cooking technique. Because he was so enamored with food, he attended culinary school in Abruzzo, where he was able to perfect the basic cooking skills he learned from his grandfather.

“I was 19 when I entered culinary school, and after I earned my diploma, decided to start my cooking journey in London,” Angelucci said.

He scored a position at Locanda Locatelli, where he was seasoned under the tutelage of starred Michelin restaurant Chef Giorgio Locatelli. He then moved on to il Greco Restaurant in Frankfurt, Germany, then to Bernot in Paris and Cipriani in Italy before relocating to the United States in 2015. Upon his arrival, he was hired as executive chef at Brioso Ristorante, which has locations in Marlboro, NJ and Staten Island.

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“My cooking style is simple; I like to work with fresh ingredients and am motivated and inspired by a range of seasonal vegetables,” Angelucci explained. “My signature dish is Oxtail Vaccinara, an old Italian recipe for making oxtail in which the meat is braised and slowly cooked, which tenderizes an otherwise tough cut and releases all of its beautiful flavor.”

It’s one of many family recipes that Angelucci has popularized at both branches of Brioso—in the process crafting a menu full of handmade pastas, roasted meats, and flavorful tomato sauces.

Popular examples include Anatra All’arancia, a whole roasted duck with a honey crust, served with an orange demi-glaze. Then there’s the Lombata D’agnello, a roasted loin of lamb with fresh herb crust, served in its natural juices, while the Costoletta Di Maiale Tartufata is a pounded pork chop sautéed with cognac, black truffle, portobello mushrooms, and roasted red peppers. Some of the restaurant’s homemade pastas include a Tagliatelle Nere Allo Scoglio (black-ink linguini covered in mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp, calamari, and cherry tomatoes) and a Chitarra Con Ragú Di Cinghiale—chitarra spaghetti with wild boar ragù in a light tomato sauce.

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“In the summer I grow my own garden at Brioso and use the fresh vegetables in my dishes,” the chef said. “It’s how my mother and grandmother used to cook.”

In October of 2016, Angelucci added the role of personal chef to his resume, joining Zafferano & Company, a business that offers catering and cooking classes and operates with a philosophy of preserving, protecting, and supporting the authenticity of products made in Italy. Each chef in the group uses only organic and natural products in their demonstrations and lessons.

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“This group has a strong desire to keep authenticity, tradition, and originality at the table,” Angelucci said. “And I deeply believe in that philosophy.

Brioso Ristorante
448 Route 9 North, Marlboro / 732.617.1300
174 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island / 718.667.1700 / briosorestaurants.com