“I was watching Chef’s Table on Netflix and was in tears,” recalls chef Rhea Rizzo, perhaps better known as the elusive Mrs Saldo. After completing her studies in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts to boot, Rizzo wasted no time getting into the thick of it and dove headfirst into a professional kitchen. Unfortunately, this stint was fleeting.
With her son diagnosed with speech delay and her daughter with autism spectrum disorder, Rizzo dedicated the next ten years to ensuring her children’s exacting needs were well-met. But one marketing certification and short-lived start-up later, the devoted mother found herself craving culinary creativity once more, moved by the lauded documentary series. “My husband asked if I wanted to go back in the kitchen, and I said yes.”
This fateful exchange soon led Rizzo to take the plunge once more, kicking off her odyssey as a stagiaire at Bangkok’s Gaggan, no less. “It was tough,” she confesses, “I had forgotten the long hours and the physical, emotional toll [that comes with it].” Resolute and impassioned, Rizzo was far from discouraged.