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Executive Chef Melissa Close Hart has directed Palladio's kitchen since the fall of 2000, continually working to bring authentic Italian Cuisine to Central Virginia.  Raised in Alabama, Melissa has been in the restaurant business since she was 16 years old and is a Distinguished Graduate from New England Culinary Institute, Alumna of the Year in 2005.  She has focused on Italian cuisine since working for award-winning chef Frank Stitt at Bottega Restaurant & Café located in Birmingham, Alabama in the early 90's.  Her quest to refine her fluency in Italian cuisine led her to San Francisco's Rose Pistola Restaurant.  After taking a hiatus to work for one of her early culinary mentors and fellow Charlottesville chef, Craig Hartman, at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, Colorado, she was drawn back to Italian cuisine when asked to take the Executive Chef's position at Palladio Restaurant.  She has brought both national and international recognition for Palladio Restaurant through her constant striving to create menus with the freshest ingredients found locally and internationally.  During the restaurant's annual closing in January, Melissa and her staff travel across the Atlantic to stage in some of Italy's finest establishments to expand their knowledge of Italian cuisine.  Melissa and her staff's commitment for excellence has won her induction in the Chaine des Rôtisseurs, and three invitations to create dinners at the world renown James Beard House in New York City, a great honor bestowed upon select chefs in the country.     

Alessandro Medici has been present since the creation of Palladio Restaurant, sent by founders Gianni and Silvana Zonin to preside over the dining room, and its wine service particularly, with a character of skill and knowledge acquired in the finest settings of international hospitality. Alessandro grew up in the province of Bergamo in Lombardy, and has been in fine dining since his boyhood, also attending the Professional School for Restaurateurs & Sommeliers in San Pellegrino Terme. His career has taken him from the Italian Alps to the Riviera, to Bermuda and a private yacht on the Mediterranean, and to the household of the Zonin family, whose emissary he is in assuring every visitor of their welcome to Palladio. 




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