Chef John Melfi
John Melfi serves as executive chef of Modena, a new concept offering Italian-influenced California cuisine driven by sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. The new restaurant opened in September 2019 in the heart of downtown Washington at 1100 New York Ave, NW, 20005. Prior to joining Modena, Chef Melfi served for ten-months as chef de tournant of Robert Wiedmaier Restaurant Group. From December 2017 to October 2018, he served as executive chef of the Michelin-starred Fiola under James Beard award-winning chef and owner Fabio Trabocchi. Prior to this appointment, Bajaj tapped him to serve as executive chef of his power dining concept, The Oval Room. During his three-year tenure, the restaurant received three stars from The Washington Post.
Chef Melfi also served for one year as the opening executive chef of Fiola Mare from January 2014 to January 2015. During Melfi’s tenure in the kitchen, Fiola Mare received three stars from The Washington Post and from Washingtonian magazine. From June 2011 to December 2013, John Melfi served as chef de cuisine at the three-star rated, award-winning Blue Duck Tavern. During his two-year stint here, the restaurant captured the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s “Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year” award in June 2013, and Melfi was also nominated for “Rising Culinary Star of the Year.” Previously Melfi worked as executive sous chef at the award-winning Vidalia restaurant under acclaimed chef and owner Jeffrey Buben from April 2008 to May 2011.
Before moving to the nation’s capital, Chef Melfi resided in Charleston, South Carolina, where he served as sous chef of Slightly North of Broad, a low country bistro led by acclaimed chef Frank Lee. His culinary career also includes working as executive chef of Charleston’s Island House Restaurant. Melfi also spent time in Naples, Florida cooking at the Hideout Country Club, Audubon Country Club and Quail Creek Country Club. Chef Melfi graduated from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in February 2002, earning top honors as class salutatorian.