Franco De Dominicis was born in a small town in Caracas, Venezuela. At age 11 Chef Franco’s family returned to their native town of Paestum, in Southern Italy with his family, a 2,600-year-old town famous for its ancient Greek and Roman archeological ruins, but also for its setting in the second biggest agricultural valley in the country.
Growing up in an Italian family in Paestum, it was only natural for Chef Franco to take to cooking at a very early age. As early as age 3 he would assist his mother making simple things as a cup of tea, by filling the kettle with water and boiling it all on his own. By 7, Chef Franco was a regular in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother and helping with family dinners and gatherings. As a child while living with his grandparents, Chef Franco learned to cultivate the land by hand, stripping the soil and planting trees such as lemons, figs, plums, oranges, peaches, as well as tomatoes, herbs, and more. Chef Franco then was responsible for canning and bottling the fruits of his labor for the summer and winter months. To this day, Chef Franco’s respect and love of fresh ingredients show in his culinary creations in the kitchen.
In his late teens Chef Franco went to train nearby at the Accademia delle Arte Culinarie di Napoli, and later went on to complete apprenticeships in France, Spain, Germany and London. Chef Franco first served as sous chef in San Lorenzo Restaurant at one of London’s preeminent Italian restaurants, The San Lorenzo Knightsbridge, during which time he had the honor of serving luminaries like Princess Diana, Sophia Loren and Sir Paul McCartney. In the late 1990’s Chef Franco was brought to Los Angeles by the esteemed Drago family to open Il Buco in Beverly Hills where he served as head Chef.
In August of 2000, Franco joined the prestigious Jonathan Club in Downtown Los Angeles as Executive banquet Chef, where he was able to express his creative side and feature an array of European cuisine. After the Jonathan Club, Chef Franco became the Executive Chef at the Wilshire Grand Hotel and in 2004 he became the Executive Chef of Conference and Catering for the University of Southern California.
In the last decade, Chef Franco worked at one of the most notable hotels in Los Angeles, The Biltmore Hotel. From 2005 to 2011, Chef Franco was the Executive Chef of The Biltmore where he oversaw the entire culinary department, including all outlets, banquets and their famous Afternoon High Tea.
In 2011, Chef Franco left The Biltmore Hotel to pursue his dream of opening his very own restaurant and in 2012 he did just that. On a trendy strip of Melrose Avenue, Franco on Melrose, a traditional Italian trattoria, opened alongside many of LA’s most esteemed culinary restaurants. With its canopied roof top, garden like indoor setting, Neapolitan menu and an Italian-centric wine list, Franco on Melrose represents the love for food and culture of his native country. Chef Franco’s approach to traditional Southern Italian cooking blends seamlessly with a distinctly Californian lifestyle through consistent use of fresh, locally-grown products, and his signature dishes reflect the cuisine of his own Amalfi coast home.
Chef Franco resides in Los Angeles with his new Newfoundland dog, Prince. In his spare time Chef Franco enjoys the beach, crossfit, hiking, and skiing.
“Delicious, delicious, delicious is all I can say about this most amazing garden setting type restaurant. Reminded me of some kind of Villa in Italy. Certainly full of the whose who in the area. I’ve gone back three times.”
Franco on Melrose provides its guests with an uncompromising and seductive experience. From the time you enter, to the time you order, to the time you depart, you will find yourself within the greatest secret hideaway in West Los Angeles.
Franco on Melrose is unique, in that its Owner and Executive Chef Franco De Dominicis designed the restaurant in such a way so that guests walk through the kitchen to get to their table. This presents each guest with the opportunity to meet the Chef personally and to bask in the amazing aromas being cooked up by the sous chefs behind the counter.
After guests pass through the kitchen, they enter into a beautiful courtyard, designed with every detail in mind. A private room, creating a more personal space for guests with large parties, is located directly to the right of the main dining terrace. Each guest is greeted by their personal host and escorted to their table.
The experience continues, because at Franco on Melrose, every dish is prepared with you in mind. From special requests to special selections, Franco on Melrose is prepared and willing to create and inspire your culinary palate every evening.
Manga Bene, Vive Bene. Eat Well, Live Well.
The History of Paestum
The town of Poseidonia – later called Paestum – was built by Greek colonists from Sybaris, an earlier Greek city in southern Italy, in around 600BC. It grew and prospered and now has among the most extensive remains of Magna Graecia (Magna Grecia in Italian). In 410BC the town was conquered by the Lucanians, a native Italian people, then in 273BC the Romans took over, changed the name to Paestum and began their own building programme. As the Roman Empire collapsed, Paestum crumbled. Malaria and Saracen raids led to the near-abandonment of the town and the development of Capaccio, a safer hillside settlement.
Paestum itself was pretty much forgotten. An information board outside the old church gives a poignant image of the locale as an abandoned wilderness frequented by brigands. Things changed with the eighteenth-century rediscovery of the temples by road-builders coupled with a revival of interest in antiquities and the visits of Grand Tourists and indefatigable travellers like Shelley and Goethe. The classical name Paestum was revived (though Capaccio is still the local authority). Nowadays most of the vanished city of Poseidonia-Paestum is hidden under agricultural land. The ancient city walls, constructed with massive stone blocks, encircle a large area of countryside, much of it unexcavated. Right in the middle is the archaeological zone open to the public, and a few later buildings housing small tourist businesses.
“West Hollywood, occasionally and colloquially referred to as WeHo (/ˈwiːhoʊ/), is a city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Incorporated in 1984, it is home to the Sunset Strip. As of the 2010 census, its population was 34,399.  It is considered one of the most prominent gay villages”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia