Franco Germano grew up in Italy, then came to America at age 18. It wasn’t long after that he joined the Army, serving as a mess sergeant during the Vietnam War. In 1976, he opened his dream, Franco’s Ristorante Italiano. He often claims he is simply carrying out the tradition of his “mamma”, feeding friends and family. Franco is now sharing his love of Italian cooking by launching a new service- “Your Traveling Chef“. Kicking off with 2 cooking demonstration classes at Southern Ohio Kitchens in March, Franco fights the Winter Blues and Franco cooks for Spring will each be 3 hour classes where you’ll learn how to make a delicious meal, pair it with a luscious wine and make some new friends. Franco is also willing to come to your house and share an afternoon or evening cooking with you and your friends.
Update: Franco passed away on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at the age of 73. The Restaurant he opened is now being run by his son Nick.
Here Franco gives us his answers to our 10 questions:
What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?
One? Garlic, tomatoes, olive oil. Great ingredients. Great basics.
What ingredient do you dread?
Ingredients for Chinese cooking like soy sauce, etc. Have no idea what to do with them and make them work.
What’s your favorite dish to make?
Franco’s World-Famous Spaghetti. My invention. Not creation. Invention. No one else can follow it.
What’s your favorite pig out food?
Salami, Prosciutto, real mozzarella, Kalamata Olives. I can eat them daily. It’s going to kill me, but I love them.
What restaurant, other than your own do you like to dine at in the Miami Valley?
Hickory Bar-B-Que on Brown St. Steak and chicken barbecue. Fantastico!
What’s your best advice for home chefs?
Follow the recipe and be sure to use quality ingredients. Don’t get cheap!!!
If you could invite any 4 guests to a dinner party who would they be and why?
My parents – fantastic people and fantastic cooks. Tommy Lasorda because he loves Italian food. Andrea Bocelli. His voice is phenomenal.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
I look up to my mother. A terrific cook. True connoisseur.
What do you do in the Miami Valley on a day off?
Golf, golf, & golf.
Share a kitchen disaster, lucky break or other interesting story:
Our lucky break was with a restaurant disaster. An hour before opening, someone snuck in our back door and set the women’s restroom on fire. We could smell something burning but couldn’t locate it at first. I looked outside thinking it was at the Chinese restaurant that shares our building. They were looking outside thinking it was us. I came back in and thought to check the restrooms. The men’s room was fine. When I opened the women’s restroom door, POOF!! I was completely black head to toe. We put out the fire and still managed to open on time but I could not come out of the kitchen. I was lucky I didn’t lose my life or my business that night.
In 2005, the Senior Open was in Dayton. I received a call from Tom Watson asking if he could get a table for two. He said he was waiting at another restaurant in town that does not take reservations and did not want to wait the two and a half hours he was being quoted. I told him to come on down. A few minutes later, he called to see if he could make another reservation. He ended up bringing a large group from the other restaurant. Did I mention I like golf?