Meet the Chef: Starrin Ricupero from 51 Main

Starrin Ricupero lives in Vergennes with his wife Christina Canyio, whose favorite dish is Ricupero’s Brazilian Shrimp Stew. Ricupero was inspired by Brazil when he created this recipe over eight years ago, and has kept it a secret until today. “It was time to let it go,” Ricupero said in an interview last week.
Ricupero graduated from New England Culinary Institute in Essex in 2002 and had a bunch of gigs working in kitchens in Addison County. He settled in with 51 Main in Middlebury in 2008.
The 39-year-old chef knew this is what he wanted to do from the moment he put on a chef’s hat and held a pan and spatla in his grandfather’s restaurant in Pennsylvania. “I knew at that moment, this is what I wanted to do,” he said.
Growing up Ricupero admired Olton Brown (a fellow NECI grad who performed on the TV show Good Eats). After Brown gave the address for Ricupero’s graduating class, he gave some advice to Ricupero that has stuck with him: “Do what you love, and don’t care what people say.”
And that’s that. Ricupero is doing what he loves, and people are loving what he does.

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