Chris Macchia grew up in a traditional Italian household in Westchester, NY where he was taught that food and culture was just as important as family. From his father’s hand-made cavatelli to his family’s Sunday gatherings at his grandmother’s home, his upbringing had a heavy influence on his passions. Chris developed a love for the culinary world at a young age; and by the time he was in high school he had decided he wanted to become a chef.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 2000, he worked for Gotham Bar and Grill in New York, Four Seasons Hotel in Maui, and The Peninsula in Chicago. He then garnered a coveted position as Executive Chef at Coco Pazzo Restaurants. Later he took the helm at The Florentine at the JW Marriott Hotel, where he specialized in Italian cuisine, travelling annually to Italy for menu research and development. He has been awarded with the “Ospitalita Italiana Seal,” the IFMA Culinary Excellence Award, and Dirona Award for “Distinguished restaurants of North America.”
His previous positions at both Coco Pazzo and The Florentine at the JW Marriott Hotel have further developed his interest in Italian cuisine—specifically pizza. Now, after 15 years of prolific experience in the culinary industry, he is joining Rich Labriola in his newest project, Pizza Barra, opening in August 2015 in Oak Brook, IL, where the focus will be on three styles of pizza in additional to Italian antipasti, piattini, and paninis.
“The ciabatta crust is amazing; it’s the best pizza I’ve ever had hands down,” says Chris. “It’s almost creamy inside with a crispy exterior.” His Italian roots and culinary experiences are embedded in Pizza Barra’s cuisine and drives menu and concept development. In addition to the ciabatta crust, Pizza Barra will feature deep dish and thin crust pies with a selection of interesting toppings.
Chris also serves as Executive Chef for Labriola Ristorante & Café, located at 535 N. Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. At Labriola Ristorante & Café, Chris presents a menu of approachable Italian favorites, complete with hand thrown Neapolitan pizzas—alongside a well curated beverage list of Italian and American selections.