Franklin Ortega


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–       Italianissimo Ristorante Café Bar – Owner / Executive Chef 1995-Present

–       Casa Bella Restaurant – Pasta Cook 1994-1995

–       Pellegrino’s Restaurant – Pasta Chef 1993-1994


–       Chef Franco is living his American Dream. He came to the U.S. for a better life at age 17 from Ecuador where he worked in the restaurant business.

–       He worked for everything in his life and he has always been competitive.  He was only fired once because he chose watching a World Cup soccer match (his other true love) instead coming to work, but he was rehired two days later because the chef knew he was talented.

–       When he was 19, he was given the chance to either work full time as a cook or stay in school and he chose his dream of cooking.

–       Franco worked with a mentor who believed in him and taught him everything he now knows about the business today. Ten years into the business, he opened his own Italian restaurant.  Franco now has the Italian swagger and accent from working with so many Italians.

–       Franco says he has huge balls and a huge temper and gets pissed really easily. He hates it when chefs on HK aren’t even as half of what they claim to be.

–       Franco will only take criticism from someone who knows what they are talking about. He is here to show what he has and to make his family proud. He wants to show the world what he is capable of.