Rocco CarulliR House
Home is where the kitchen is for Rocco Carulli, Executive Chef and Owner of R House, Wynwood. Born in New Jersey and raised by immigrant parents from rural Puglia, Southern Italy, food was always at the heart of Chef Rocco’s household. From journeying to the local market with his mother to pick the freshest ingredients, to learning from his father how to butcher lambs, rabbits and chickens, to preparing fresh hand-made pasta for hours on end with his grandmother; Chef Rocco has always found joy in preparing and sharing food.
After a brief foray into banking and accounting as a young adult, Chef Rocco kicked off his culinary career at the age of 24 and soon after enrolled at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduating, the aspiring chef took his newfound skills to a number of culinary hotspots in the United States including New York, San Francisco, and Miami, but his primary professional home became the unforgettable small coastal resort town at the extreme tip of Cape Cod – Provincetown, Massachusetts.
After just a few years in Provincetown, Carulli was offered the opportunity to lease a seasonal restaurant decorated with fine art, Café Edwige – an opportunity he jumped at and which allowed him to create the revamped Edwige At Night.
For thirteen seasons, Carulli ran the Edwige At Night kitchen and personally hosted guests in the restaurant dining room by night. In the quaint, 75-seat bistro, Carulli relished his ability to interact with the loyal guests that he’d come to know by name over the years – a key characteristic of Carulli’s style of hospitality for which he has become renowned in Miami today, where on any given night he can be found circulating in the R House dining room and welcoming guests to ‘Rocco’s House’.
After many years of success with his seasonal venture, Chef Rocco felt it was time to seek a year-round project where he could showcase his unique combination of front and back of house expertise. Having already established himself in Miami during the Edwige off-season, where he worked for the late developer Tony Goldman of Goldman Properties at WISH café in South Beach, the Magic City was his obvious choice.
With much encouragement from family, friends and customers, the talented chef and entrepreneur decided to open his own restaurant in the emerging arts district of Wynwood. R House, or as locals affectionately know it, Rocco’s place, is a perfect display of Chef Rocco’s culinary talent, vibrant personality and long-standing industry experience. Naturally, art has been incorporated into the restaurant, as it forms part of the third of Chef Rocco’s three pillars of restaurant hospitality – menu, service, and environment.
Inspired by his Italian-American heritage and his experience working in New Californian farm to table restaurants, Chef Rocco has crafted a menu that focuses on rustic Italian and farm-to-table American dishes made with fresh ingredients sourced as close to home as possible. A great believer in sustainable food and local sourcing, Chef Rocco is a recent recipient of the Slow Food Movement’s Snail of Approval Award – a source of great pride. He has also represented Wynwood as its ‘Culinary Captain’ at South Beach Wine & Food Festival for the past 2 years.