Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament


Chef: Francois Giovanni Merle - Executive Chef/Owner

Chef Francois Giovanni Merle

About the Chef

Born on the island of Mauritius, Chef Giovanni has worked in kitchens all over the world from France to Puerto Rico from Jamaica to the United Arab Emirates. He started cooking as a young boy in his mother’s café and noticed he really had a natural ability to use whatever was available to craft a delicious dish. Chef Giovanni began formal training at the age of 16 in Mauritius and later in the South of France. He was classically trained in French technique and holds a Brevet Professional Cuisine Certification.

Chef Giovanni has worked with some of the best French chefs, including James Beard nominee Yannik Cam.

He lives by the mantra; laughter is brightest where food is best. He believes that good food and physical fitness are essential to overall well-being. His Strictly Ital Movement aims to promote a connection to the outdoors, mindfulness and clean eating. When he’s not in the kitchen he enjoys yoga practice, honing his drumming skills, and learning about agriculture.

His cooking style is much like his Mauritian upbringing; it is comprised of a melting pot of cultures including Creole, Asian and French. He loves working with fresh produce and exotic fruits and vegetables

When asked about a favorite dish he prepares, Chef Giovanni told us, "I did a salmon paillason, that I'm proud of because nobody thought about it. It is consists of fine hash brown julienne, and coating a piece of fresh salmon; I consider it a fusion of a French American classic".


Personal Chef Services

Malik Cheeks - Sous Chef

Chef Malik Cheeks

Sous Chef Info