Jon Wirtis, Ristorante Italia
Born in Beverly Hills, Calif., and raised in San Fernando, the 47-year-old Wirtis
grew up in the food business, as his
father owned and ran several eateries. "I basically grew up standing on a milk crate making sandwiches at my Dad's delis and barbecue joints," he
went off to college at Humboldt State University
in northern California, where he
originally studied geology, then switched to marketing and accounting. "I cooked my way through school and realized that I liked the cooking part better than the schooling part," he
says. That realization led him to enroll at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.He
externship at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, then worked at two other resorts in the area before moving to Portland, Ore.There, Wirtis spent 10 years with McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, where he rose to corporate executive chef. Wirtis later took a hiatus from cooking and did ballroom dancing for two years, then taught at Portland's Western Culinary Institute. His
wife of three years is a Tucson native, which prompted his
move to Tucson and his
new gig at Italia
, the newest venture of Bob McMahon's Metro Restaurants. Question: What's your favorite restaurant in Tucson?
...Wirtis is a graduate of Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, N.Y.
additional informationBE THE CHEF