The Fan restaurant will open its doors to showcase RVA’s future restaurant owners.
“These are all really talented people,” said Joe Sparatta, head chef at Heritage and organizer of the series, about the chefs involved (see sidebar). But their talent is sometimes limited as each of the chefs work in restaurants and businesses that they don’t own. As a result, they’re more-or-less limited to the menu and concept of the business that employs them.
“A lot of [chefs] do have the ability to show what they can do,” Sparatta said. “But it’s not always true to what they actually want to do for their own place in the future.” Sparatta said that each chef featured in the upcoming takeover series has expressed wanting to one day own their restaurant.
“We all have different passions and focuses and ideals of what we’d like to do for ourselves,” Sparatta said. “So it’s giving them a chance to show who they are a little bit, in a small way.”
But he said showing Richmond who they are as chefs isn’t the most interesting part of the upcoming series. “I think the most interesting aspect is everybody is going to be helping each other,” Sparatta said. “That’s a stipulation.”
For one night,1 each chef has carte blanche in the kitchen. But for the other nights, each chef will act as a supporting cook for the rotating headliner. “It’s just a good way for us to continue cooking together and working together and enabling community,” Sparatta said.
Richmond’s close chef community is a rare thing, according to Emilia Sparatta, co-owner of Heritage.
“There’s definitely a convivial atmosphere here that’s absent for sure in other towns,” she said. “There is much more of a sense of camaraderie and not competition. There’s a lot of secrecy and holding your cards very close to your chest in other areas. You just don’t get that [in Richmond].”
She said that each chef that’ll takeover Heritage in the coming months is “very focused” on building Richmond’s restaurant reputation. “But they are very different stylistically…I’m excited and curious to see how different it’s all going to be.”
Reservations are available on the takeover nights between 6:00 – 8:30 PM.
Joe Sparatta is excited to loan out Heritage’s kitchen to Richmond’s rising chefs (“They’re all really talented and they’re all really awesome people,” he said), but he’s most looking forward to people getting a taste of what’s to come for Richmond. “Getting to learn more about what these guys are going to be offering the city in the future…that’s an exciting prospect,” he said.
Four-course meals during the Guest Chef Takeover Series cost $45 per person. Call Heritage at 804.353.4060 for reservations.
- Each takeover takes place on a Monday when Heritage is otherwise closed. ↩
photo courtesy of Kieran Wagner