Say ciao (hello) to the owner, menu curator, and occasional co chef of the Scalzotto Italian Restaurant in Broomfield. Giancarlo is a first generation Italian family man hailing from Northern Italy. Unlike most culinary enthusiasts, Giancarlo didn’t find his love for food right away. He didn’t grow up cooking in the kitchen, he didn’t attend culinary school; he found his love for food through chance.
He smiles as he looks back at his culinary origin: “It was about the opportunity of the market honestly. Originally in Italy there wasn’t really any Mexican food. There were no concepts like that. I took the opportunity to bridge the gap, to do something different. That is exactly what I did when I came here.”
Years later Giancarlo and his family made the trek to the heart of Colorado. “I like to do Italian food as authentic as possible. It’s hard to find good authentic Italian cooking because people put a lot of extra ingredients in it… Italian food is simple but you need to use ingredients that are of good quality.”
Scalzotto’s current head chef is Jonathan Rodrigeuz. Rodriguez didn’t grow up cooking with mom in the kitchen. In fact, Jonathan didn’t find his love for food until adulthood; but as he moved up the ranks his fascination with food rose along with it. The young Colombian chef has traveled all over the United States honing his culinary skill.
“Originally I am from Bogota, Colombia. I was thirteen or fourteen when I came to the United States. I grew up in Florida, at first we were in Miami but then we moved to Vero Beach.” Rodriguez grew up eating Colombian food, but not cooking it. “Honestly growing up, my mom was the cook mainly. Her style of food was different. She cooked with what she knew and the ingredients she had in the house. Once I learned to cook I actually ended up teaching my mother how to cook.” Over time his mother would come to him asking for advice. The pride was on his face as he recalled being able to share that with his mother.
It was there in Vero Beach that Rodriguez found his passion for professional culinary arts. “My first cooking job was at a sort of country club called John’s Island. I started off working on salads at the salad station. I started working my way up. I started doing pizzas and appetizers on the line, I began working with proteins and such.”
Jonathan worked in John’s Island for eleven years, during his time there he learned about various global cuisines. “John’s Island basically covered a lot of my schooling. I got the chance to work with Italian food, French cuisine, American cuisine, Spanish, it was a little mix of everything.”
John’s Island brought his adoration of food to the fore. “Back at John’s Island I began to love going to work because every new recipe or style I would learn would excite me. It was fun! I remember almost everyday before I went to work I had little butterflies because there was always something new and unexpected.”
But Florida couldn’t hold him. “After Florida I moved to Maine. I worked at another golf club up there. Then I moved to Portland, Maine, and began to work at an Italian restaurant called Tipo.” Tipo provided him a chance to work with more refined palates and detailed flavors. After Maine Jonathan set the course for the mile high state.
“I have been here in Colorado for a little over a year now. I was taking my time to find a job, I really wanted to find something that I was comfortable with and not just for a job. I met Giancarlo here in Broomfield and we got along well. So I started working with Giancarlo here at Scalzotto and I love it.”
Jonathan has even shared his talent with his family. “I got to cook for my parents and they were pretty impressed. I sometimes get picked on by my brother because he knows that I know what I am doing. He always goes, oh here comes the chef! But every time he cooks he’s always asking for my opinion and I’m the youngest.” He smirked.
When asked his plans for the future, he paused and said, “I definitely love working with Giancarlo; we have our ups and downs but I think we have a really good relationship. Italian food is my favorite cuisine to cook. Italian food, there is a lot of flavor in it but it’s also simple. It’s the food I see myself cooking for a long time.”