Franco Paterno was born and raised in southern Italy, in a region known for its pristine waters and continual sunshine. He was heavily influenced by his family’s business, which managed the growth and production of figs, olives, grapes for wine making, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Paterno immigrated to Rhode Island as a young teen, and soon thereafter began working in a small family-owned Italian restaurant, where he was introduced to the restaurant industry. As a young culinarian, his education ranged from an apprenticeship in a classical French restaurant, to a stage in a summer resort in Sibari, to the formal culinary program at Johnson & Wales University. Paterno’s training intensified when he worked a season at The Green Briar Hotel, a world-class resort, as well as a season at the Everglades Country Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
In 1980, he began assuming some chef responsibility when he was recruited as the sous chef of the Tremont Hotel, a small boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago. There he worked for Chef Guy Petit, a well-renowned French chef.
After three years at the Tremont he became executive chef of a newly opened contemporary, American restaurant called Michelle’s in downtown Atlanta, Ga. In just one year, the restaurant became one of Atlanta’s best restaurants.
In 1985, looking to return to the New England area, Chef Paterno accepted the position of executive chef of the Marriott Providence. Over the years, many significant changes have occurred at the Marriott, and the current hotel restaurant, Bluefin Grille, has a casual, elegant atmosphere, serving locally inspired and responsibly caught seafood.
7 oz. salmon filet, skin off
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp. olive oil
2 oz. shallots, chopped
3 oz. green beans, blanched
2 oz. fingerling potatoes, cooked and halved
1 oz. grape tomatoes, halved
1 oz. Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
½ tsp. parsley, chopped
3 leaves of celery
3 tbsp. arugula oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 ½ oz. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. black table ground pepper
2 tsp. salt
2 cups olive oil
4 oz. chopped parsley
1. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients, except for the olive oil and parsley, in a mixing bowl.
2. Whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified, then add chopped parsley, and salt and pepper as needed. Set vinaigrette aside.
3. Place salmon on a dry towel and season with salt and pepper.
4. Heat sauté pan and add half of the olive oil into the pan. Sear the salmon in the pan, cooking about 3 minutes on one side. Flip salmon to its other side and cook to a minimum temperature of 145 degrees.
5. In a separate sauté pan, while the fish is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the shallots to bring out the flavor. Then add the tomatoes, olives, potatoes and green beans. Sauté these ingredients together until heated through.
6. Add the mustard vinaigrette to the sauté pan carefully - about 4 tbsp. worth per serving. CAUTION: The vinaigrette may flame up if you are using a gas stove. Always be careful around open flames and be sure to keep the appropriate safety equipment available.
7. Once the vinaigrette is heated and mixed with the vegetables, you are now ready to plate. Make a bed out of the vegetables on your plate and rest the salmon on top.
8. From here you can garnish with a few leaves of celery and 2 to 3 tbsp. of arugula oil and the lemon half if desired.