Nicholas Stefanelli is the chef and owner of Masseria in Washington, DC. Stefanelli grew up in suburban Maryland with a strong influence coming from his close relationship to his Greek and Italian grandparents whose culinary heritage was a fact of life. Visiting Puglia, the source of his Italian roots, Stefanelli became enchanted by the masseria, centuries-old agricultural estates whose residents worked the land, created their own food, and hosted visitors, neighbors, and friends with great warmth. Striking out on his own and building his culinary career in the Nation’s capital, Stefanelli was determined to recreate that sensibility in his first establishment. The result is Masseria.
Stefanelli graduated from L’Académie de Cuisine; his experience includes Roberto Donna’s Galileo, and Laboratorio del Galileo; Fabio Trabocchi’s Maestro and Fiamma; Thomas Keller’s French Laundry; and Bibiana, the successful haute Italian restaurant he opened with legendary restaurateur Ashok Bajaj. Under Stefanelli’s tenure, Bibiana was named a “Best New Restaurant” by Esquire. Stefanelli was named the 2010 Rising Star by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington [RAMW], and was included as a nominee for the Rising Star Award by the James Beard Foundation. In 2016, Masseria was prominently featured in The Wall Street Journal, and earned a RAMW nomination for “New Restaurant of the Year”.