Our Biography

JOHANNE KILLEEN AND GEORGE GERMON

Johanne Killeen and George Germon are chefs/owners of Al Forno Restaurant, which

opened in Providence in January 1980. Al Forno, which literally means “from the oven,”

was inspired by the opulence and style of Northern Italy’s fine cuisine, which makes

extensive use of wood-burning ovens or open-flame grills

Killeen and Germon became enamored of Italian cuisine when they lived and traveled

throughout Italy. Johanne worked in a tiny restaurant outside of Florence, and George

taught for Rhode Island School of Design’s European Honors Program in Rome at

Palazzo Cenci. The couple’s training in the fine arts, Killeen as a photographer and

Germon as a sculptor and architect, is reflected in the sense of design displayed in the

restaurant’s interior as well as in the creative presentation of their dishes.

As Johanne explains: “For us, our restaurant, Al Forno, is simply an art project that keeps

evolving. The kitchen is our studio, and the food we cook is like a canvas that is

continually being repainted, changed, and refined. Food is eaten the way art is perceived;

it is digested and recorded. Given the right circumstances, a connection is made and

communication takes place, which is what art is all about.”

Indeed, the food that Killeen and Germon serve at Al Forno has led to national recognition

for the husband/wife team. They are most famous for inventing grilled pizza, and in recent

years, have garnered international acclaim, catching the culinary world’s attention with

their oven-baked pasta dishes, vegetable combinations fragrant with garlic, olive oil, and

Mediterranean herbs, and their superb desserts all cooked to order with the freshest

ingredients.

Al Forno has earned prestigious accolades including: one of the “Best Regional

Restaurants’ in America according to John Mariani of Playboy; Esquire named Al Forno

one of the best new eateries; Conde Nast Traveler gave Al Forno their “Distinguished

Restaurants of North America” award, and Nation’s Restaurant News gave Al Forno the

Hall of Fame Award. In addition, GQ Magazine presented their “Golden Dish’ award to

the restaurant for their outstanding Lemon Meringue Tart. On a most impressive note,

Patricia Wells writing for the The International Herald Tribune’s “World’s Best

Restaurants” selected Al Forno as “Number One” in the world for Casual Dining.

USA Today named Johanne Killeen, one of the top twenty women chefs in the country.

She is a founding member of The International Association of Women Chefs and

Restaurateurs group (WCR). Food and Wine named Johanne and George two of The Ten

Best Chefs in America, while the James Beard Foundation named them “Rising Stars of

America”, and later “Great Regional Chefs”. In 1993, the Foundation honored them with

the award for “Best Chef in the Northeast”. Killeen and Germon have been inducted into

the Johnson and Wales University’s “Hall of Fame” as “Distinguished Visiting Chefs”.

Their peers have also honored the two chefs with the prestigious “Ivy Award”. In 1999

the restaurant was recipient of the “Insegna del Ristorante Italiano” granted to select

Italian restaurants abroad by the Italian Ministries of Agriculture and of Foreign Trade and

in the same year, Johanne and George received Honorary Doctorates in Culinary Arts

from Johnson and Wales University.

These culinary artists have featured in Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, The New York

Times, Glamour, Esquire, New England Monthly, Metropolitan Home, Boston Globe,

USA Today, Family Circle, Conde Nast Traveler, House Beautiful, New England Living,

and Fine Cooking. Additional features include a profile of the chefs by Bryan Miller in

The New York Times, and several articles by Alison Arnett of The Boston Globe who

bestowed on Al Forno her highest four-star rating given only to those deserving the

description “extraordinary.” The Ladies Home Journal also featured the couple in an

article with Julia Child who discusses her TV series “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master

Chefs”.

In October 1997, Killeen and Germon were the subjects of Molly O’Neill’s “Food” in The

New York Times Magazine. Their Thanksgiving recipes were the subject of Coastal

Living’s November ‘97 feature article, and their article “ A Cozy but Elegant Christmas

Dinner” appeared in the January ‘98 issue of Fine Cooking.

Johanne Killeen and George Germon have shared their techniques in cooking classes

around the world. In the U. S., they have taught at DeGustibus at Macy’s in New York

City; Bristol Farms, Draeger’s and Fetzer Vineyards in California, and La Varenne at the

Greenbrier in West Virginia. They have appeared on several television cooking shows

such as Sara Moulton’s Cooking Live Primetime, Martha Stewart Living TV, and Julia

Child’s Cooking with Master Chefs and Baking with Julia. Internationally, they have

conducted classes for Seabourn Cruise Lines in Asia and the Mediterranean. In Italy, they

teach regularly for the Wine and Culinary Center at the Capezzana Estate in Tuscany, the

Hotel Cipriani in Venice, and the Regaleali Wine Estate in Sicily with Anna Tasca Lanza.

In 1991, Killeen and Germon wrote a James Beard award-winning cookbook, CUCINA

SIMPATICA: Robust Trattoria Cooking, published by HarperCollins, NYC. The book

catalogues their romance with quality ingredients, and their acute instinct and skill in

creating meals that enhance the fine flavor of each ingredient. The recipes in CUCINA

SIMPATICA are based on the dishes served at Al Forno. Their second cookbook, On

Top of Spaghetti… .Macaroni, Linguine, Penne and Pasta of Every Kind, was released by

HarperCollins (William Morris Cookbooks) in November 2006. This book is a

celebration of the love affair George and Johanne have had with pasta for several decades.