"An Interview with Renato"
by Restaurant Merchandising News
Renato Ovens, Inc. is educating Americans on what wood-fire cooking is all about. Bringing an age-old tradition up to date, woodburning brick ovens, rotisseries and charbroilers are gaining favor in restaurants and homes across the country.
Founded in 1981, Renato manufacturers and distributes Wood Burning, Wood Burning/Gas and Infrared brick ovens, rotisseries and charbroilers. Corporate clientele include Euro Disney, Hyatt Regency Hotels, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, California Pizza Kitchen restaurant chain, Macaroni Grill and Kenny Roger's Roasters, to name a few.
It was no surprise to Italian-born Renato Riccio, president and founder, that all of his childhood years spent as the errand runner and brick layer at a brick factory, would some day pay off.
At the age of 20, Renato immigrated to the United States with $3 in his pocket. After several years in the food industry, Renato caught a scent of his homeland cuisine on the West Coast.
"I knew right away I was here to introduce Americans to a new way of cooking," says Renato. Getting started right way, he imported a woodburning brick oven from his hometown in Tuscany, Italy, and opened the Bel Air Grill, with the first wood burning oven in Dallas, Texas.
"The phone has not stopped ringing since," says Renato, whose next step was to begin importing these brick ovens to sell commercially.
The growing trend toward a more natural, healthful lifestyle has brought about a demand for wood-fired cooking. What was once only in upscale restaurants is now being found in restaurant chains, diners and homes around the world. "Flame-broiled food tastes so much better because of the subtle earthy taste," says Renato. "All the natural flavors of the ingredients are brought out without being covered with heavy sauces or oils/" Ironically, what began as an importer of European-made equipment, turned into a manufacturer of its own American-made and designed products in 1989, when Renato began exporting to Europe and beyond.
Combining old world tradition with new age technology, Renato has incorporated American electronic ingenuity into his products. By adding temperature controls, safety features and a gas option, Renatos products are adaptable to large restaurants and family kitchens alike.
Emphasis on natural cooking methods has led health conscious, dietary preference shifts towards lean, nutritious foods. Flame-broiling enhances natural flavors without artificial additives or seasonings.