Rico Rivera was born and raised in Oakland, California. After graduating from Montera Middle School and Skyline High School, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
Rico returned to the Bay Area and began his cooking at the Lark Creek Inn. This is where he developed a passion for local and sustainable cooking. Trips to the markets became an essential element in influencing his cooking sensibilities and intuition.
Rico moved to Boston to assist James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schlow open the Great Bay Restaurant in Kenmore Square. It was here where he worked with amazing seafood caught by local fisherman.
After 3 years in Boston, he moved to New York to further his culinary education and worked at the famed Gramercy Tavern under chef Tom Colicchio. This is where he developed a love for cooking with live fire.
Longing to return to his roots, he moved back to Oakland and began working at the then-newly opened Pizzaiolo. After 5 years at Pizzaiolo, Rico was ready to take on the opportunity of running a kitchen of his own. He became the Executive Chef at Flora Restaurant in Uptown Oakland, where he spent 8 years developing and nurturing relationships with neighborhood farmers.
Rico now takes the helm at his own restaurant, Almond and Oak, in his hometown of Oakland. The cuisine is California New American, focusing on seasonality with a market-driven menu.
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