A lifelong love of Southern Italian cuisine and expertise formed over 20 years in the kitchen led Rocky Maselli to A16 Rockridge in Oakland, CA. Prior to opening the restaurant with award-winning San Francisco restaurateurs Shelley Lindgren and Victoria Libin in June 2013, Maselli embarked on a culinary field trip to Naples to earn his pizzaiolo certification from the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana and to garner inspiration for coastal dishes he could translate stateside. “I’m riffing on traditional Southern Italian recipes and cooking techniques using seasonal Bay Area ingredients and fish from some amazing local purveyors,” says Maselli, whose family has roots in Puglia. “From Fort Brag sea urchin to roasted whole fish of the day and house-marinated anchovies, our focus is on seafood. We are also having a little fun with some Neapolitan-style pizzas, as well, including one inspired by a fried-dough version I enjoyed in Naples.”
The Bay Area native returns to the East Bay to helm the A16 Rockridge kitchen after cooking for the past 15 years in restaurants throughout Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He was most recently chef/owner of Osteria Sfizo Italian Food and Drink in Eugene, OR, where he earned critical acclaim for his modern Italian cuisine. Prior, Maselli served as executive chef and managing partner of Marché, an urban American bistro in Eugene, as well as oversaw a seasonally changing menu for sister operations Marché Café and Marche Provisions. At each of his restaurants, Maselli is invigorated by the camaraderie of those with whom he works and the relationships he’s formed along the way. “The one thing that means the most has to be the people and my daily interaction with staff, vendors, producers, and guests,” he says. “At the end of the day, you might not remember what you cooked for every table, but you do remember all the people involved who made it happen.”
The chef remains involved in the culinary industry outside of his work in the kitchen. A member of Slow Food and Chefs Collaborative, he has contributed dishes to events including the Oregon Truffle Festival, the International Pinot Noir Celebration, and a number of dinners for the James Beard Foundation. He earned his degree in hotel and restaurant management from City College of San Francisco. Maselli lives with his wife, Leah Pearl, and their twin daughters, Stella and Scarlett, who just turned 15.