CHEF JOE SPARATTA
A native of the garden state of New Jersey, Joe was born into a family of chefs, and took up the craft at an early age. It was not until he began working at The Ryland Inn under Chef Craig Shelton that he truly found his passion. At the time, The Ryland was the only New Jersey restaurant to be awarded four stars by the New York Times, and the only to be awarded Relais Gourmands by Relais & Chateaux; it is in this environment, with a four acre organic garden to work with, that Joe got his education. Joe received additional training with Chefs David Bouley, Eric Ripert, and Michael Laiskonis in New York City before joining Chef Scott Anderson to open elements in Princeton, NJ. While Sous Chef and Pastry Chef at elements, Joe managed a team that received top ratings from local and New York press, garnered publication in Art Culinaire, and earned a spot in the top 20 “most important restaurants” in America by the Opinionated About Dining Guide.
Since moving to Virginia, Joe has worked with restaurateur Paul Keevil, Chef Jason Alley & Michele Jones in opening their acclaimed Pasture. Since it’s opening, Heritage has garnered numerous accolades including: Chef & Restaurant of the Year Elby's 2015, Star Chef.com Rising Star Winner 2014 Washington DC area, Southern Living's 100 Best Restaurants in the South 2014, and Richmond Magazine’s Best New Restaurant 2013. Joe was awarded the Elby award for Chef of the Year again in 2018.
In his latest project, Sparatta has teamed up with fellow 2014 D.C. Rising Star and “Chef of the Year” Elby winner Lee Gregory of The Roosevelt, and local Richmond farmer Matt Gottwald to open Southbound. This seasonally driven, upscale casual eatery Bon Appetit has recognized Southbound as one of "America's Best New Restaurants 2015". Most recently Southbound won the 2016 "Best New Restaurant" Elby award.
While Emilia’s initial love of the restaurant industry started on the “line,” she found her real passion for the business in the dining room. After an intense education from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Emilia began working at The Ryland Inn, progressing from cook to assistant maitre‘d then wine director in short time. The organizational skills learned there were put to the test when asked to come on as General Manager for the opening of elements with Chef Scott Anderson. Under her supervision elements was quickly recognized throughout New Jersey and the region for exceptional service and offerings. As wine director, elements received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence in 2009, followed by the Best Award of Excellence in 2010. She was featured in New Jersey Monthly as a top “Woman of Business,” also in 2010. While classically trained, she prefers a more subdued, warm style in service, an approach appreciated by guests in her New Jersey and Virginia establishments. Emilia left elements to assist long time Richmond restaurateur Paul Keevil in the management of LuLu’s.